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After some representations of the happiness of Heaven, and a preparation for it, there fol- 
lows a rational and Scriptural account of the punishments in Hell, and a proof of their 
eternal duration. "With a plain Answer to all the most plausible Objections. 



MILL-HILL, J\/'£:ili TBEjVTOAr: 

Tllii:. KEY/ YORK 

ASiOxl. LENOX A^.'Q j 

R I'.'IO L 


AMONG all the solemn and important things 
which relate to religion, there is nothing that strikes 
the soul of man with so much awe and solemnity, as 
the scenes of death, and the dreadful or delightful 
consequents which attend it. Who can think of en- 
tering into that unknown region where spirits dwell, 
without the strongest impressions upon the mind 
arising from so strange a manner of existence ? Who 
can take a survey of the resurrection of the millions 
of the dead, and of the tribunal of Christ, whence 
men and angels must receive their doom, without the 
most painful solicitude, ' What will my sentence be ?' 
Who can meditate on the intense and unmingled 
pleasure or pain in the world to come, without the 
most pathetic emotions of soul, since each of us must 
be determined to one of these states, and they are 
both of everlasting duration ? 

These are the things that touch the springs of every 
passion in the most sensible manner, and raise our 
hopes and our fears to their supreme exercise. These 
are the subjects with which our blessed Saviour and 
his Apostles frequently entertained their hearers, in 
order to persuade them to hearken, and attend to the 
divine lessons which they published amongst them 


These were some of the sharpest weapons of their 
holy warfare, which entered into the inmost vitals of 
mankind, and pierced their consciences with the high- 
est solicitude. These have been the happy means 
to awaken thousands of sinners to flee from the wrath 
to come, and to allure and hasten them to enter into 
that glorious refuge that is set before them in the 

It is for the same reason that I have selected a few 
discourses o» these arguments out of my public mi- 
nistry, to set them before the eyes of the world in a 
more public manner, that if possible, some thought- 
less creatures might be rouzed out of their sinful 
slumbers, and might awake into a spiritual and eter- 
nal life, through the concurring influences of the 
blessed Spirit. 

I am not willing to disappoint my readers, and 
therefore I would let them know before-hand, that 
they vvill find very little in this book to gratify their 
curiosity about the many questions relating to the 
invisible world, and the things which God has not 
plainly revealed : Something of this kind, perhaps, 
may be found in two discourses of death and hea'uetiy 
which I published long ago : But in the present dis- 
courses I have very much neglected such curious 
enquiries. Nor will the ear that has an itch for con- 
troversy be much entertained here, for I have avoid- 
ed matters of doubtful debate. Nor need the most 
::ealous man of orthodoxy, fear to be led astray into 
new and dangerous sentiments, if he will but take 


the plainest and most evident dictates of Scripture/ 
for his direction into all truth. 

My only design has been to set the great and most 
momentous things of a future world in the most con- 
vincing and affecting light, and to enforce them upon 
the conscience with all the fervour that such subjects 
demand and require. And may our blessed Re- 
deemer, who reigns Lord of the invisible world, pro- 
nounce these words with a divine power to the heart 
of every man, who shall either read or hear them. 

The treatise which is set as an introduction to this 
book, was printed many years ago without the au- 
thor's name, and there, in a short preface, represent- 
ed to the reader these few reasons of its writing and 
publication, viz. 

The principles of atheism and infidelity have pre- 
vailed so far upon our age, as to break in upon the 
sacred fences of virtue and piety, and to destroy the 
noblest and most effectual springs of true and vital 
religion; I mean those which are contained in the 
blessed gospel. The doctrine of the resurrection of 
the body, and the consequent states of beaven and 
belif is a guard and motive of divine force ; but it is 
renounced by the enemies of our holy Christianity : 
And should we give up the recompences of separate 
soulsy while the deist denies the resurrection of the 
hody^ I fear between both we should sadly enfeeble 
and expose the cause of virtue, and leave it too naked 
and defenceless. The Christian would have but one 
persuasive of this kind remaining, and the deist 
would have none at all. 


It is necessary therefore to be upon our guard, and 
to establish every motive that we can derive either 
from reason or Scripture, to secure religion in the 
world. The doctrine of the state of separate spirits, 
and the commencement of rewards and punishments., 
immediately ufter death, is one of those sacred fences 
of virtue which we borrow from Scripture, and it is 
highly favoured by reason, and therefore it may not 
be unseasonable to publish such arguments as may 
tend to the support of it.. 

In this second edition of this small treatise, I have 
added several paragraphs and pages to defend the 
same doctrine, and the last section contains an an- 
swer to various new objections which I had not met 
widi, when I first began to write on this subject. I 
hope it is set upon such a firm foundation of many 
Scriptures, as cannot possibly be overturned, nor do 
I think it a very easy matter any way to evade the 
force of them. May the grace of God lead us on 
further into every truth that tends to maintain and 
propagate faith and holiness. 

In the first of these discourses, I have endeavour- 
ed to prove, that •* at the departure of the soul from 
the body by death, the rewards or punishments,' i. e. 
the joys or sorrows ' of the other world, are appoint- 
ed to commence:' And I hope I have given, from 
the evidence of Scripture, such arguments to support 
this doctrine, as that the faitli of Christians may not 
be staii,gcrcd and confounded by different opinions, 
or made to wait for these events, through all the ma- 


i^y years that may arise between death and the resur- 

I know nothing besides this, that is made a matter 
of controversy ; and I hope that the whole of these 
sermons, by the blessing of God, will be made hap- 
pily useful to Christians, to awaken and warn them 
against the danger of being seized by death in a stale 
unprepared for the presence of God, and the happi- 
ness of heaven, and to raise the comforts and joys of 
many pious souls in the lively expectation of future 

The last discourses of this book, especially the 
'eternity of the punishments of hell,' have been in 
latter and former years made a matter of dispute ; 
and were I to pursue my enquiries into this doctrine, 
only by the aids of the light of nature and reason, I 
fear my natural tenderness might warp me aside 
from the rules and the demands of strict justice, and 
the wise and holy government of the great God. 

But as I confine myself almost entirely to the reve- 
lation of Scripture in all my searches into the things 
of revealed religion and Christianity, I am constrain- 
ed to forget or to lay aside that softness and tender- 
ness of animal nature which might lead me astray, 
and to follow the unerring dictates of the w'ord of 

The Scripture frequently, and in the plainest and 
strongest manner, asserts the everlasting punishment 
of sinners in hell ; and that by all the methods of ex- 
pression which are used in Scripture to signify an 
everlasting continuance. 


God's utter hatred and aversion to sin, in this per- 
petual punishment of it, are manifested many ways; 
(1.) By the just and severe threatenings of the wise 
and righteous Governor of the world, which are scat- 
tered up and down in his word. (2.) By the ^oera- 
city of God in his inthnations or narrames of past 
events, as Jude v. 7. ** Sodom and Gomorrha suffer- 
ing the vengeance of eternal fire." (3.) By his ^yi- 
yiTCss predictio7is, Matth. xxv. 46. *' These shall go 
away into everlasting punishment." 2 Thess. i. 9. 
" Who shall be punished with everlasting destruc- 
tion;" and I might add, (4.) by the veraciiy 2ind 
truth of all his holy Prophets and Apostles, and his 
Son Jesus Christ at the head of them, whom he has 
sent to acquaint mankind with the rules of their duty, 
and the certain judgment of God in a holy correspon- 
dence therewith, and that in such words as seem to 
admit of no way of escape, or of hope for the con- 
demned criminals. 

I must confess here, if it w^ere possible for the 
great and blessed God any other way to vindicate his' 
own eternal and unchangeable hatred of sin, the in- 
flexible justice of his government, the wisdom of his 
severe threatenings, and the veracity of his predic- 
tions, if it were also possible for him, without this 
terrible execution, tovindicate the veracity, sincerity, 
and wisdom of the Prophets and Apostles, and Jesus 
Christ his Son, the greatest and chiefest of his divine 
messengers ; and then, if the blessed God should at 
any time, in a consistence with his glorious and in- 
comprehensible perRctions, release those wretched 


creatures from their acute pains and long imprison- 
ment in hell» either with a design of the utter de- 
struction of their beings by annihilation, or to put 
them into some unknown world, upon a new foot of 
trial, I think I ought cheerfully and joyfully to accept 
this appointment of God, for the good of millions of 
my fellow-creatures, and add my joys and praises to 
all the songs and triumphs of the heavenly world in 
the day of such a divine and glorious release of these 

But I feel myself under a necessity of confessing, 
that I am utterly unable to solve these difiiculties ac- 
cording to the discoveries of the New Testament, 
which must be my constant rule of faidi, and 
hope, and expectation, with regard to myself and 
others. I have read the strongest and best writers 
on the other side, yet after all my studies I have not 
been able to find any way how these difficulties may 
be removed, and how the divine perfections, and the 
conduct of God in his word, may be fairly vindicat 
ed without the establishment of this doctrine, as aw- 
ful and formidable as it is. 

* The ways' indeed of the great God and his 
* thoughts are above our thoughts and our w^ays, as 
the heavens are above the earth ;' yet I must rest and 
acquiesce where our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father's 
chief Minister, both of his wrath and his love, has 
left me in the divine revelations of Scripture; and I 
am constrained therefore to leave these unhappy crea- 
tures under the chains of everlasting darkness, into 
which they have cast themselves by their wilful ini- 


qaities, till the blessed God shall see fit to release 

This would be indeed such a new, such an aston- 
ishing and universal jubilee, both for devils and wick- 
ed men, as must fill heaven, earth, and hell, with 
hallelujahs and joy : In the mean time it is my ardent 
wish, that this awful sense of the terrors of the Al- 
mighty, and his everlasting anger, which the word 
of the great God denounces, may awaken some souls 
timely to bethink themselves of the dreadful danger 
into which they are running, before these terrors seize 
them at death, and begin to be executed upon them 
without release and without hope. 

Note. Where these Discourses shall be used as a religious service in 
private families on Lord's-day evenings, each of them will afford a division 
near the middle, lest the service be m%de too long and tiresome. 



An Essay toward the Proof of a Separate State of 


Sect, I, THE introduction or proposal of the ques- 
tion with the different oppositions which 
are made to it, and reasons against 
them .... Page 13 

Sect, II. Probable arguments from Scripture for the 
Separate State - - - 21 

Sect, III. Some firmer and more evident proofs of a 
Separate State from Scripture r 33 

Sect. IF. Objections against it answered - 56 

Sect. V. An answer to several new objections 78 

The Discourses 07i the ivorld to come. 

Discourse L The end of time - - - 88 
Discourse II. The watchful Christian dying in 

peace - = - - 122 
Discourse III Surprise in death - - 154 

Discourse IF. Christ admired and glorified in his 

saints - - - - 185 
Discourse F. The wrath of -the Lamb. - 221 

Discourse FL The vain refuge of sinners, or a medi 

tation on the rocks near Tun- 

bridee-Wells. 1729. . 23P 


Discourse FIL No night in heaven - Page 263 
Discourse FIIL A soul prepared for heaven 287 
Discourse IX. No pain among the blessed - 329 
Discourse X, The first fruits of the Spirit, or the fore- 
taste of heaven - - 382 
Discourse XL Safety in the grave, and joy at the 
resurrection «- - - 417 
A speech over a grave - - - - 451 







The introduction or proposal of the question^ witb a 
distinction of the persons \\)ho oppose it. 

IT is confessed that the doctrine of the resurrec- 
tion of the dead at the last day, and the everlasting 
joys, and the eternal sorrows, that shall succeed it, 
as they are described in the New Testament, are a 
very awful sanction to the gospel of Christ, and carry 
in them such principles of hope and terror as should 
eifectually discourage vice and irreligion, and be- 
come a powerful attractive to the practice of faith 
and love, and universal holiness. 

But so corrupt and perverse are the inclinations 
of men in this fallen and degenerate world, and their 
passions are so much impressed and moved by things 
that are present or just at hand, that the joys of hea- 
ven, and the sorrows of hell, when set far beyond 
death and the grave at some vast unknown distance 
of time, would have but too little influence on their 



hearts and lives. And though these solemn and im- 
portant events are never so certain in themselves, 
yet being looked upon as things a great way oft^, 
make too feeble an impression on the conscience, 
and their distance is much abused to give an indul- 
gence to present sensualities. For this we have the 
testimony of our blessed Saviour himself, Matt. xxiv. 
48. '* The evil servant says, my Lord delays his com- 
ing; then he begins to smite his fellow servants, and 
to eat and drink Mith the drunken:" And Solomon 
teaches us the same truth, Eccles. viii. 11. *' Because 
sentence against an evil work is not executed speed- 
ily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set 
in them to do evil." And even the good servants in 
this imperfect state, the sons of virtue and piety, may 
be too much allured to indulge sinful negligence, 
and yield to temptations too easily when the terrors 
of another world are set so far olF, and their hope of 
happiness is delayed so long. It is granted, indeed, 
that this sort of reasoning is very unjust; but so 
foolish are our natures, that we are too ready to take 
up with it, and to grow more remiss in the cause of 

Whereas, if it can be made to appear from the 
v/ord of God, that, at the moment of death, the soul 
enters into an unchangeable state, according to its 
character and conduct here on earth, and that the 
recompences of vice and virtue, are, in some mea- 
sure, to begin immediately upon the end of our state 
of trial; and if, besides all this, there be a glorious 
and a dreadful resurrection to be expected, witheter- 


nal pain or eternal pleasure both for soul and body, 
and that in a more intense degree, when the theatre 
of this world is shut up, and Christ Jesus appears to 
pronounce his public judgment on the world, then all 
those little subterfuges are precluded, which mankind 
would form to themselves from the unknown distance 
of the day of recompence: Virtue will have a nearer 
and stronger guard placed about it, and piety will be 
attended with superior motives, if its initial rewards 
are near at hand, and shall commence as soon as this 
life expires; and the vicious and profane will be 
more effectually affrighted, if the hour of death mast 
immediately consign them to a state of perpetual sor- 
rows and bitter anguish of conscience, without hope, 
and with a fearful expectation of yet greater sorrows 
and anguish. 

I know what the opposers of the Separate State 
reply here, viz. That the whole time from death to 
the resurrection is but as the sleep of a night, and 
the dead shall awake out of their graves, utterly ig- 
norant and insensible of the long distance of time 
that hath past since their death. One year or one 
thousand years will be the same thing to them; and 
therfore, they should be as careful to prepare for the 
day of judgment, and the rewards that attend it, as 
they are for their entrance into the Separate State at 
death, if there were any such state to receive them. 

I grant, men should be so in reason and justice: 
But such is the weakness and folly of our natures, 
that men will not be so much influenced nor alarm- 
ed by distant prospects, nor so solicitous to prepare 


for an event which they suppose to be so very far 
off, as they vi^ould for the same event, if it commences 
as soon as ever this mortal life expires. The vici- 
ous man will indulge his sensualities, and lie down 
to sleep in death with this comfort, * I shall take my 
rest here for a hundred or a thousand years, and per- 
haps, in all that space, my offences may be forgotten, 
or something may happen that 1 may escape: or, let 
the worst come that can come, I shall have a long 
sweet nap before my sorrows begin : ' Thus the force 
of divine terrors are greatly enervated by this delay 
of punishment. 

I v»ill not undertake to determine, when the soul 
is dismissed from the body, whether there be any 
explicit divine sentence passed concerning its eter- 
nal state of happiness or misery, according to its 
works in this life; or whether the pain or pleasure 
that belongs to the Separate State be not chiefly such 
as arises by natural consequence from a life of sin or 
a life of holiness, and as being under the power of an 
approving or a condemning conscience: But, it 
seems to me more probable, that since '* the spirit re- 
turns to God that gave it, to God the Judge of all," 
with whom " the spirits of the just made perfect" 
dwell, and, since the spirit of a Christian, when " ab- 
sent from the body, is present with the Lord," i. e. 
Chi ist, I am more inclined to think that there is 
some sort of judicial determination of this impor- 
tant point, cither by God himself, or by Jesus 
Christ, into whose hands '' he has committed all 
judgment." Heb. ix. 27. ''It is appointed unto 
nien once to die, but xiftcr this the judgment :" 


Whether immediate or more distant, is not here ex- 
pressly declared, though the immediate connection of 
the words hardly gives room for seventeen hundred 
years to intervene. But, if the solemn formalities 
of a judgment be delayed, yet the conscience of a 
separate spirit, reflecting on a holy or a sinful life, is 
sufficient to begin a heaven or a hell immediately 
after death. 

Amongst those who delay the season of recom- 
pence till the resurrection, there are some who sup- 
pose the soul to exist still as a distinct being from 
the body, but to pass the whole interval of time in a 
state of stupor or sleep, being altogether unconscious 
and unactive. Others again imagine, that the soul 
itself has not a suflicient distinction from the body to 
give it any proper existence when the body dies; 
but that its existence shall be renewed at the resur- 
rection of the body, and then be made the subject of 
joy or pain, according to its behaviour in this mor- 
tal state. 

I think there might be an effectual argument 
against each of these opinions raised from the princi- 
ples of philosophy: I shall just give a hint of them, 
and then proceed to search what Scripture has re- 
vealed in this matter, which is of much greater im- 
portance to us, and will have a more powerful influ- 
ence on the minds of Christians. 

I. Some imagine the soul of man to be his blood ov 
his breath, or a sort of 'cital flame, or refined air or 
ijapour, or the composition and motion of the fluids 
and solids in the animal bodv. This thev suppose 


to be the spring or principle of his intellectual life, 
and of all his thoughts and consciousness, as well as 
of his animal life. And though this soul of man dies 
together with the body, and has no manner of sepa- 
rate existence or consciousness, yet when his body 
is raised from the grave, they suppose this principle 
of consciousness is renewed again, and intellectual 
life is given him at the resurrection as well as a new 
corporeal life. 

But it should be considered, that this conscious or 
thinking principle having lost its existence for a sea- 
son, it will be quite a nevv^ thing, or another creature 
at the resurrection ; and the man will be properly 
m^other person, another self, another lor he: and 
such a new conscious principle or person cannot pro- 
perly be rewarded or punished for personal virtues 
or vices of which itself cannot be conscious by any 
power of memory or reficction, and which were 
transacted in this mortal state by another distinct 
principle of consciousness. For if the conscious 
principle itself, or the thinking being has ceased to 
exist, it is impossible that it rhould retain any me- 
mory of former actions, since itself began to be but in 
the moment of the resurrection. The doctrine of re- 
warding or punishing the same soul or intelligent 
nature which did good or evil in this life, necessa- 
rily requires that the same soul or intelligent nature 
should have a continued and uninterrupted existence, 
that so the same conscious being which did good or 
evil may be rewarded or punished. 

^ilCT. I. A SEI»A11ATE STATH. 19 

II. Those who suppose the soul of man to have a 
real distinct existence when the body dies, but ojily 
to full into a state of slumber without consciousness 
or activity, must, I think, suppose this soul to be 
material, i. c. an extended and solid substance. 

If they suppose it to be inextended, or to have no 
parts or quantity, I confess I have no manner of idea 
of the existence or possibility of such an inextended 
being, without consciousness or active. power, nor 
do they pretend to have any such idea as I ever heard, 
and therefore they generally grant it to be extended. 

But if they imagine the soul to be extended, it 
must either have something more of solidity or den- 
sity than mere empty space, or it must be quite as 
unsolid and thin as space itself: Let us consider both 

If it be as thin and subtle as mere empty space, 
yet while it is active and conscious, I own it must 
have a proper existence; but if it once begin to 
sleep and drop all consciousness and activity, I have 
no other idea of it, but the same which I have of 
empty space; and that I conceive to be mere nothing, 
though it im.pose upon us with the appearance of 
some sort of properties. 

If they allow the soul to have any the least degree 
of density above what belongs to empty space, this 
is solidity in the philosophic sense of the word, and 
then it h solid extension, w^hich I call matter: and a 
material being may indeed be laid asleep, i. e. it may 
cease to have any motion in its parts; but motion is 
not consciousness: and how either solid or unsolid 


extension, either space or matter, can have any con- 
sciousness or thought belonging to any part of it, or 
spread through the whole of it, I know not ; or what 
any sort of extension can do toward thought or con- 
sciousness, I confess I understand not; nor can I 
frame any more an idea of it, than I can of a blue 
motion or a sweet smelling sound, or pf fire or air or 
water reasoning or rejoicing: and I do not affect to 
speak of things or words, when I can form no corres- 
pondent ideas of what is spoken. 

So far as I can judge, the soul of man in its own 
nature, is nothing else but a conscious and active 
principle, subsisting by itself, made after the image 
of God, who is ail conscious activity; and it is still 
the same being, whether it be united to an animal 
body, or separated from it. If the body die, the soul 
still exists an active and conscious power or principle, 
or being; and if it ceases to be conscious and active, 
I think it ceases to be; for I have no conception of 
what remains. 

Now, if the conscious principle continue conscious 
after death, it will not be in a mere conscious indo- 
lence: the good man and the wricked will not have 
the same indolent existence. Virtue or vice, in the 
very temper of this being when absent from matter 
or body, will become a pleasure or a pain to the con- 
science of a separate spirit. 

I am well aware that this is a subject which has 
employed the thoughts of many philosophers, and I 
do but just intimate my own sentiments without pre- 
suming to jud^e for others. But the defence or re- 


futation of arguments on this subject, would draw me 
into a field of philosophical discourse, which is very- 
foreign to my present purpose: and whether this 
reasoning stand or fall, it will have but very little in- 
fluence on this controversy with the generality of 
Christians, because it is a thing rather to be deter- 
mined by the revelation of the word of God. I there- 
fore drop this argument at once, and apply myself 
immediately to consider the proofs that may be drawn 
from Scripture for the soul's existence in a Separate 
State after death, and before the resurrection. 


Probable Arguments for the Separate State. 

THERE are several places of Scripture in the 
Old Testament, as well as m the New, which may be 
most naturally and properly construed to signify the 
existence of the soul in a Separate State after the 
body is dead ; but since they do not carry with them 
such plain evidence, or forcible proof, ar»d may pos* 
sibly be interpreted to another sense, I shall not long 
insist upon them: however it may not be amiss just 
to mention a few of them, and pass away. 

Psal. Ixxiii. 24, 26. *'Thou shalt guide me with 
thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory: my 
flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength 
of my heart and my portion for ever." In these 
verses recehing to glory seems immediately to follow 


SL guidance through this world; and when tbe jffesib' 
and heart of the Psalmist should fail him in death, 
God continued to be \i\s portion for ever^ God would 
receive him to himself as such a portion, and thereby 
he gave strength or courage to his heart even in a dy- 
ing hour. It would be a very odd and unnatural 
exposition of this text to interpret it only of the re- 
surrection, thus, '* Thou shalt guide me by thy coun- 
sel through this life, and after the long interval of 
some thousand years thou wilt receive me to glory." 

Eccles. xii. 7. ** Then shall the dust return to the 
earth as it was, and the spirit to God that gave it." 
It is confessed the word spirit in the Hebrew is the 
same with breath, and is represented in some places 
of Scripture as the spring of animal life to the body: 
yet it is evident in many other places, the word spirit 
signifies the conscious principle in man, or the intel- 
ligent being, which knows and reasons, perceives 
and acts. The Scripture speaks of being '' grieved 
in spirit," Isa. liv. 6. Of *' rejoicing in spirit," 
Luke X. 21. *' The spirit of a man knoweth the 
things of a man," 1 Cor. ii. 11. ** There is a spirit 
in man," i. e. a principle of understanding, Job 
xxxii. 8. And this spirit both of the wicked and 
the righteous at death '* returns to God," Eccl. xii. 
7. to God who (as I hinted before) is the Judge of 
all in the world of spirits, probably to be further de- 
termined and disposed of, as to its state of reward 
or punishment. 

Isa. Ivii. 2. '' The righteous is taken away from 
the evil to come, he shall enter into peace, they shall 


rest in their beds, each one walking in his upright- 
ness.'* The soul of every one that walketh upright- 
ly shall at death enter into a state of peace while 
their body rests in the bed of dust. 

Luke ix. 30, 31. '' And behold there talked with 
him, (i. e. with Jesus) two men which were Moses 
and Elias, who appeared in glory, and spake of his 
decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." 
I grant it possible that these might be but mere vi- 
sions which appeared to our blessed Saviour and his 
apostles: but it is a much more natural and obvious 
interpretation to suppose that the spirits of these two 
great men, whereof one was the institutor, and the 
other the reformer of the Jewish church, did really 
appear to Christ, who was the reformer of the world, 
and the institutor of the Christian church, and con- 
verse with him about the important event of his 
death and his return to heaven. Perhaps the spirit 
of Elijah had his heavenly body with him there, since 
he never died, but was carried alive to heaven; but 
Moses gave up his soul at the call of God when 
no man was near him, and his body was buried by 
God himself. See 2 Kings ii. 11. andDeut. xxxiv. 
1, 5, 6. and his spirit was probably made visible only 
by an assumed vehicle for that purpose. 

John V. 24. *' Whoso heareth my word and believ- 
eth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life ; is 
passed from death to life," John vi. 47, 50, 51. 
**This is the bread which cometh down from hea- 
ven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. If any 
man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever." John 


xi. 26. ** Whoso liveth and believeth in me, shall 
never die," to which may be added the words of 
Christ to the woman of Samaria, John iv. 14. *'The 
water that I shall give him shall be in him a well 
6f water, springing up into everlasting life." 1 
John V. 12. " He that hath the Son hath life," Sec. 
The argument I draw from these Scriptures is this: 
It is hardly to be supposed that our Saviour in this 
gospel, and John in his first epistle imitating him, 
should speak such strong language concerning eter- 
nal life, actually given to and possessed by the believ- 
ers of that day, if there must be an interruption of 
it by total deadi or sleep both of soul and body for 
almost two thousand years, i. e. till the resurrection. 
Acts vii. 59. " And they stoned Stephen calling 
upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus receive my spir- 
it." Those who deny a Separate State, suppose that 
Stephen here commits his spirit, or principle of hu- 
man life, into the hands or care of Christ (because 
the life of a saint is said to be *' hid with Christ in 
God," Colos. iii. 3, 4.) that he m.ight restore it at 
the resurrection, and raise him to life again. But I 
think this is an unnatural force put upon these words, 
contrary to their most obvious meaning, if we consi- 
der the context : for Stephen here had a vision of 
the *' Son of man, (or Christ Jesus) standing on the 
right hand of God, and the glory of God near him;" 
see ver. SS, 56. Whereupon Stephen being con- 
scious of the existence of Christ in that glorious 
state, desired that he would receive his spirit, and 
take it to dwell with him in his Father's house ; not to 


He and sleep in heaven, for *' there is no night there," 
but to behold the glory of Christ according to the 
many promises that Christ had made to his disciples, 
that he *' would go and prepare a place for them in 
his Father's house," and that they should be *' with 
him there to behold his glory," John xiv. and xvii. 
which I shall have occasion to speak of afterward. 

Rom. viii. 10, 11. ** And if Christ be in you, the 
body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life be- 
cause of righteousness," i. e. If Christ dwell inyou 
by the sanctifying influences of his Spirit, it is true 
indeed, your body is mortal and must die, because it 
is doomed to death from the flill of Adam on the ac- 
count of sin, and because sinful principles still dwell 
in this fleshly body ; but your soul or spirit is I'lfe^ or 
(as some copies read ^^ instead of ^&.») your spirit Hdcs 
when the body is dead, and enjoys a life of happiness, 
because of the righteousness imputed to you, i, e. 
'' your justification unto life," Rom. v. 17, 18. 21. 
I know there are several other ways of construing 
the words of this verse by metaphors ; but the plain 
and most natural antithesis which appears here be- 
tween the death of the body of a saint because of sin 
or guilt, and the continuance of the spirit or soul in 
a life of peace because of justification or righteous- 
ness, and that even when the body is dead, gives a 
pretty clear proof that this is the sense of the apostle. 
This is also further confirmed by the next verse, 
which promises the resurrection of the dead body in 
due time. ''If the Spirit of him that raised up 
Christ from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up 


Christ from the dead," i. e. God the Father, «* shall 
also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that 
dwelleth in you." The spirit or soul of the saint lives 
without dying, because of its pardon of sin and justifi- 
cation and sanctification, in the 10th verse ; and the 
body (not the spirit or soul) shall be quickened or 
raised to life again, by the blessed Spirit of God 
which dwells in the saints, ver. 11. 

2 Cor. V. 1, 2. ** For we know that if our earthly 
house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a 
building of God, an house not made with hands eter- 
nal in the heavens. For in this we groan earnestly, 
desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is 
from heaven." Ver. 4. ** We in this tabernacle 
groan being burdened, not for that we would be ur^- 
clolhed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be 
swallowed up of life." It is evident that this house 
JromheaDcn, this building of God, is something which 
is like the clothing of a soul divested of this earthly 
tabernacle, ver. 1, 2. or it is the clothing of the 
whole person, body and soul, which would abrogate 
the state of mortality, and swalloiv it up in life, ver. 
4. For though in ver. 4. the apostle supposes that 
the soul doth not desire the death of the body, or that 
itself should be unclothed, and therefore he would ra- 
ther choose to have this state of blessed immortality 
superinduced on his body and soul at once without dy- 
ing, yet in the first verse he plainly means such a 
house in or from heaven, or such a clothing which may 
^ome upon the soul immediately as soon as the 
earthly house or tabernacle of his body is dissolve d. 


And how dubious soever this may appear to those 
who read the chapter only thus far, yet the 8th verse, 
which supposes good men to be present ivitb Christ 
when absent from the body, determines the sense of 
it as I have explained it; of which hereafter. 

Perhaps it is hard to determine, whether this su- 
perinduced clothing be like the Shechinah or visible 
glory in which Christ, Moses, and Elias, appeared at 
the transfiguration, and which some suppose to have 
belonged to Adam in innocency ; or whether it sig- 
nify only a state of happy immortality, superinduced 
or brought in upon the departing soul at death, or 
upon the soul and body united as in this life, and 
with which those saints shall be clothed, who are 
** found alive at the coming of Christ," according to 
1 Cor. XV. 52, 53, 54. which will not kill the body, 
but swallow up its mortal state in immortal life. 

Let this matter, I say, be determined either way, 
yet the great point seems to be evident, even beyond 
probability, that there is a conscious being spoken of;^ 
which is very distinct from its tabernacle, or house^ 
or clothing, and which exists still, whatever its cloth- 
ing or its dwelling be, or whether it be put off or put 
on ; and that, when the earthly house or vessel is dis- 
solved or put off, the heavenly house or clothing is 
ready at hand to be put on immediately, to render 
the soi;l of the Christian fit to be present voith the 

2 Cor* xii. 2, 3. ** I knew a man in Christ above 
fourteen years ago, whether in the body or out of the 
body, I cannot tell, God knowedv, how that he wa? 


caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable 
words." I grant this ecstacy of the apostle does not 
actually shew the existence of a Separate State after 
death till the resurrection; yet, it plainly manifests 
St. Paul's belief, that there might be such a state, 
and that the soul might be separated from the body, 
and might exibt, and think, and know, and act, in 
paradise, in a state of separation, and hear, and per- 
haps converse in the unspeakable language of that 
world, while it was absent from the body. 

And, as 1 acknowledge I am one of those persons 
who do not believe that the intellectual spirit or mind 
of man is the proper principle of animal life to the 
body, but that it is another distinct conscious being, 
that generally uses the body as an habitation, engine, 
or instrument, while its animal life remains; so I am 
of opinion, it is a possible thing for the intellectual 
spirit, in a miraculous manner, by the special order 
of God, to act in a state of separation without the 
death of the animal body, since the life of the body 
depends upon breath and air, and the regular temper 
and motion of the solids and fluids, of which it is com- 
posed.* And St. Paul seems here to be of the same 

* It would be thought, perhaps, a little foreign to my present purpose, 
if I should stay here, to prove that it is not the conscious principle in 
man that gives or maintains the animal life of his body. It is granted, 
that, according to the course of nature, and the general appointment of 
cf God therein, this conscious principle or spirit continues its tommuni- 
cations with the body, while the body has animal life, or is capable of its 
natural motions, and able to obey the volitions of the spirit; and, on this - 
account, the ' union of the rational spirit to the body,' and ' the animal 
life of the body,' are often represented as one and the same thing. 


mind, by his doubtin,^ whether his spirit was in the 
body or out of the body, whilst it was wrapt into the third 
hea'Dcn and enjoyed this vision, his body being yet 

Phil. i. 21. ** For me to live is Christ, and to die 
is gain." The apostle, whilst he was here upon 
earth, spent his life in the service of Christ, and en- 
joyed many glorious communications from him. 
" For him to live was Christ." And, on this account, 
he was contented to continue here in life longer: Yet 
he is well satisfied that death would be an advantage or 
gain to him. Now we can hardly suppose what 
gain it would be for St. Paul to die, if his soul im- 
mediately went to sleep, and became unactive and 
unconscious, while his body lay in the grave, and 
neither soul nor body could do any service for Christ, 
or receive any communications from him, till the 
great rising-day. This text seems to carry the ar- 
gument above a mere probability. 

Bat. if we enter into a philosophical consideration of things, we should 
remember that animals of every kind in earth, air, and sea, and even tlae 
minutest insects which swarm in millions, and worlds of them, which are 
invisible to the naked eye, have all an animal life, but no such conscious 
or thinking principle as is in man : and why may not the body of man 
have the same sort of animal life quite distinct from the conscious spirit ? 

Besides, if this conscious principle give life to the body, medicines and 
physicians, v.hose power reaches only to rectify the disordered solids 
or fluids of the body, Vv'ould not be so necessary to preserve life, as 
an orator to persuade the spirit to continue in the body and preserve its 
life. And accordingly, we read of foreign ignorant nations, where the 
kindred persuade the dying person to live and tarry with them, and not 
to forsake rhenr; and, when the person is dead, they mourn and reprove 
him, * V/hy were you so unkind to leave and forsake us;' and indeed this 
conduct of those poor savages is a very natural inference from their suppO' 
sition of the intelligent spirit giving animal life to the body. 



1 Thess. iv. 14. ** For if we believe that Jesus died, 
and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Je- 
sus will God bring with him." The most natural 
and evident sense of these words is this, that when 
the man Jesus Christ (in whom dwells the fullness of 
the Godhead) shall descend frotn heaven, in order to 
raise the dead bodies of those that died or went to 
sleep in the faith of Christ, God dwelling in him, 
will bring with him the souls of his saints who v/ere 
in paradise, down to earth to be reunited to their bo- 
dies when Jesus raises them from the dead, of which 
the apostle speaks in the 6th verse : This, I say, is 
the most natural and obvious sense; other para- 
phrases of the words seem strained and unnatural. 

1 Thess. v. 10. *' Jesus Christ, who died for us, 
that whether we wake or sleep, we should live toge- 
ther with him." Sleep is the death of good men, in 
the language of the apostle, in chap. iv. 13, 14, 15. 
and sleep in this verse, can neither signify natural 
sleep, as ver. 7. nor spiritual sloth^ as ver. 6. there- 
fore it must signify death here. Now, they who sleep 
in Christ, in this sense, do still live together with him 
in their souls, and shall live with him in their bodies 
also, when raised from the dead. This exposition 
arises near to a certainty of evidence. 

1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, 20. *' Christ was put to death 
in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit ; by which 
also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, 
which sometime were disobedient, when once the , 
long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah." 
I confess this is a text that has much puzzled inter- 



preters, in what sense Christ may be said *^ to go and 
preach" to those ancient rebels who were dcbtroyed 
by the flood: whether he did it by his spirit working 
in Noah the *' preacher of righteousness" in those 
days; or whether, in the three days in which the 
body of Christ lay dead, his soul visited the spirits 
of those rebels in their separate state of imprison- 
ment, on which some ground the notion of his de- 
scent into hell: But, let this be determined as it will, 
the most clear and easy sense of the apostle, when 
he speaks of the '* spirits in prison," is, that the 
souls of those rebels, after their bodies were destroy- 
ed by the flood, were reserved in prison for some 
special and future design: And this is very parallel 
to the present circumstances of fallen angels in Jude 
ver. 6. *' The angels that kept not their first estate, 
he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, 
unto the judgment of the great day :" And why may 
not the spirits of men be a swell kept in such a prison 
as angelic spirits? 

Jude ver. 7. ' Sodom and Gomorrha are set forth 
for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal 
Are,' It is evident that the material fire which de- 
stroyed Sodom and Gomorrha was not eternal, for a 
great lake of water quickly overflowed, and now cov- 
ers all that plain where the fire was kindled, which 
burnt down those cities. It is manifest also, that, 
the day of resurrection and future punishment being 
not yet come, they do not, at this time, suffer the 
vengeance of eternal fire in their bodies: Nor can 
this verse, I think, be well explained to make Sodom 


and Gomorrha an example to deter present sinners 
from uncleanness, but by allowing that the spirits of 
those lewd persons are now suffering a degree of x^d-zz- 
geance ov punishment from the justice of God, which 
is compared to that^r^ whereby their cities and their 
bodies were burnt; and which vengeance, at the last 
great day, shall continue their punishment, and pro- 
nounce it eternal, or kindle material fire which shall 
never be quenched. 

The last text I shall mention, is Rev. vi. 9. "I 
saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain 
for the word of God, and for the testimony which 
they held." I confess this is a book of visions, and 
this place, amongst others, might be explained as a 
mere vision of the apostle, if there were no other 
text which confirmed the doctrine of a Separate 
State : But, since I think there are some solid proofs 
of it in other parts of the New Testament, I know 
not why this may not be explained, at least something 
nearer to the literal sense of it than those will allow, 
who suppose the soul to sleep from death to the re- 
surrection. Why laay not the spirits of the martyrs, 
which are now with God, pray him to hasten the 
accomplishment of his promises made to his church, 
and the day of vengeance upon his irreconcileable 



Some Jirmer or more e'ci dent proofs of a Separate State, 

I COME now to consider those texts which do 
more expressly and certainly discover the Separate 
State, and which, I think, cannot, with any tolerable 
appearance of reason, be turned aside from their plain 
and obvious intention, to reveal and declare that 
there is a Separate State of souls. And such, in my 
opinion, are these that follow. 

I. Text, Matth. x. 28. *' Fear not them which kill 
the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather 
fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul 
in hell." Every common reader, as well as every 
man of learning, who reads this text with a sincere 
mind and without prejudice, I think, will acknow- 
ledge at least, that the most obvious and easy sense 
of the words, implies, that there is a soul in man 
which . men cannot kill, even though they kill the 

It is to very little purpose for writers to say, that 
the Greek word 4^;^" which we translate soul here, 
doth in other places of Scripture, and even in the 
39th verse of this very chapter, signify Ufe^ and con- 
sequently here it may also signify the animal Vfe or 
person of the man ; for it is manifest, that in this 
place it must signify some immortal principle in 
man that cannot die; whereas when the body is 
killed, the animal life dies too, and does not exist till 
the body is raised again: but the soul is a principle 


in this place which men cannot kill even though they 
destroy the life of the body: and whatsoever other 
senses the word 4y%>» may obtain in other texts, that 
cannot preclude such a sense of it in this text, as is 
most usual in itself, and which the context makes ne- 
cessary in this place. 

Nor will it avail the supporters of the mortality of 
the soul to say that this Scripture means only that 
men cannot kill the soul for e'oer^ so that it shall for 
ever perish and have no future life hereafter by a re- 
surrection : for in this sense men cannot kill the body^ 
so that it shall never revive or rise again: but here 
is a plain distinction in the text, that the body may 
be killed, but the soul cannot. 

And I think this Scripture proves also, that though 
the body may be laid to sleep in the grave, yet the 
soul cannot be laid to sleep; for the substance of the 
body still exists, and is not utterly destroyed by kill- 
ing it, but only laid to sleep for a time, as the Scrip, 
lure often describes death: but the soul cannot be thus 
laid to sleep for a time, with its substance stilF exist- 
ing, for that would be to have no pre- eminence 
above the body, which is contrary to this assertion 
of our Saviour. 

IL Luke xvi. 22, &c. ** The beggar died and was 
carried by angels into Abraham's bosom : The rich 
man also died and was buried, and in' hell he lifted 
up his eyes, being in torments, and said, Father 
Abraham, have mercy on me. Sec. and send Lazarus, 
ver. 27. to my father's house that he may testify to 
my brethren, lest they come also into this place of 


torment.'* I grant that this account of the rich man 
and the beggar is but a parable, and yet it may prove 
the existence of the rich man's soul in a place of tor- 
ment before the resurrection of the body ; 1. Because 
the existence of souls in a Separate State, whilst 
other men dwell here on earth, is the very founda- 
tion of the whole parable, and runs through the whole 
of it. • The poor man died and his soul was in para- 
dise. The rich man's dead body was buried and 
his soul was in hell, while his five brethren were here 
on earth in a state of probation, and would not 
hearken to Moses and the prophets. 

2. Because the very design of the parable is to 
shew, that a ghost sent from the other world, w^he- 
ther heaven or hell, to wicked men who are here in 
a state of trial, will not be sufficient to convert them 
to holiness, if they reject the means of grace and the 
ministers of the word. The very design of our Sa- 
viour seems to be lost, if there be no souls existing 
in a Separate State. A ghost sent from the other 
world could never be supposed to have any influence 
to convert sinners in this world, even in a parable, if 
there were no such things as ghosts there. The rich 
man's five brethren could have no motive to hearken 
to a ghost pretending to come from heaven or hell, 
if there were no such thing as ghosts or separate souls 
either happy or miserable. Now surely, if parables 
can prove any thing at all, they must prove those 
propositions which are both the foundation and the 
design of the whole parable. 


3. I might add yet farther, that it is very strange 
that our Saviour should so particularly ^peak of an- 
gels carrying the soul of a man, whose body was just 
dead, into heaven or paradise, which he calls Abra- 
haul's bosom; if there were no such state or place as 
a heaven for separate souls; if Abraham's soul had 
had no residence there, no existence in that state; 
if angels had never any thing to do in such an office. 
What would the Jews have said or thought of a pro- 
phet come from God, who had taught his doctrines 
to the people in such parables as had scarce any sort 
of foundation in the reality or nature of things. 

But you will say the Jews had such an opinion 
current among them, though it was a very fiilse one, 
and that this was enough to support a parable : lan- 
sv/er, what could Christ (who is truth itself) have 
said more or plainer to confirm the Jews in this gross 
error of a Separate State of souls, than to form a pa- 
rable which supposes this doctrine in the very design 
and moral of it, as well as in the foundation and mat- 
ter of it. 

III. Luke XX. 37, ^^. '^Now that the dead are 
raised even Moses shewed at the bush, when he call- 
eth the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, 
and the God of Jacob; for he is not a God of the 
dead but of the living; for all live unto him." Some 
learned men suppose that the controversy between 
Christ and the Sadducees in this place was about the 
anastasls, which implies the whole state of existence 
after death, including' both die Separate State and 
the resurrection, because the Sadducees denied both 
these at once, and believed that death finished the 



whole existence of the man. *' They denied angels 
and spirits," Acts xxiii. 8. i. e. separate souls of 
men, and thought the rewards and punishments men- 
tioned in Scripture related only to this life. Upon 
this account they suppose our Saviour's design is 
to prove the existence of persons or spirits in the 
Separate State as much as the resurrection of the 

And when he says, that the Lord or Jehovah is de- 
scribed as the God of Abraham^ &:c. it supposes Abra- 
ham at the same time to have actually some life and 
existence in some state or other, for ** God is not a 
God of the dead but of the living,"yt>r all that are dead 
and gone out of this world still live unto God, i. e. 
they have a present life in the invisible world of spi- 
rits as God is an invisible Spirit, as well as they ex- 
pect a resurrection of their body in due time. 

How could God in the days of Moses be called ac- 
tually ** the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," who 
were long since dead, if there was no sense in which 
they were now alive to God, since our Saviour de- 
clares God is properly " the God o?ily of the living, 
and not of the dead ?" This part of the argument holds 
good in whatsoever sense you construe the whole 
debate, and by whatsoever medium or connection you 
prove the doctrine of the resurrection of the body; 
and this is obvious to the honest and unlearned rea- 
der, as well as to the men of learning. 

IV. Luke xxiii. 42, 43. *< And he (that is, the 
penitent thief upon the cross) said unto Jesus, Lord, 
remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom: 


and Jesus said unto bim, Verily I say unto thee, to- 
day shalt thou be with me in paradise." The thief 
upon the cross believed that Christ would enter into 
paradise which he supposed to be Christ's kingdom, 
when he departed from this world which was not his 
kingdom ; and this he believed partly according to the 
common sentiment of the Jews concerning good men 
at their death, as well as it is agreeable to our Savi- 
our's own expressions to God, John xvii. 11. *' Ho- 
ly Father, I am no more in the world and I am come 
unto thee:" or as he had said to his disciples, John 
xvi. 28. ** I leave the world and go to the Father." 
And according to these expressions, Luke xxiii. 
46. Christ dies with these words on his lips, " Fa- 
ther into thy hands I commend my spirit." Our 
Saviour taking notice of the repentance of the thief, 
acknowledging his own guilt, thus. *^ we are justly 
under this condemnation and receive the due reward 
of our deeds;" and taking notice also of his faith in 
the Messiah, as a king whose " kingdom was not of 
this world," when he prayed, '*Lord, remember me 
when thou comest into thy kingdom:" Christ, I say, 
taking notice of both these, answers him with a pro- 
mise of much grace, '« Verily, I say unto thee, to- 
day shalt thou be with me in paradise." 

The use of the word paradise in Scripture, and 
amongst ancient writers Jewish and Christian, is to 
signify the ' happiness of holy souls in a separate 
State;' and our Saviour entering into that state at 
his death declared to the dying penitent, that he 
should be with him there immediately. It is certain 


that by the word paradise St. Paul means the place 
of happy spirits, into which he was transported, 2 
Cor. xii. 4. And this sense is very accommodate 
and proper to this expression of our Saviour and to 
the prayer of the penitent thief, and it is as suitable 
to the design of Christ in his epistle to the church of 
Ephesus, Rev. ii. 7. *' the tree of life in the midst 
of the paradise of God," which are the only three 
places where the New Testament uses this word. 

I know th^re have been great pains taken to shew 
that the stops should be altered, and the comma 
should be placed after the word to-day^ thus, * Isay 
unto thee to-day, thou shalt be with me in paradise,* 
i. e. some time or other hereafter. As though Christ 
meant no more than this, viz. * Thou askest me to 
remember thee when I come into my kingdom : and 
I declare unto thee truly this very day, that some long 
time hereafter thou shalt be with me in happiness at 
thy resurrection, when my kingdom shall be just at 
an end and I shall ghe it all up to the Father,"* as in 
1 Cor. XV. 24. Can any one imagine this to be the 
meaning of our blessed Saviour in answer to this 
prayer of the dying penitent ? I know also there are 
other laborious criticisms to represent these words 
f to-day J in other places of Scripture as referring to 
some distant time, and not to mean that very day of 
twenty-four hours: but rather than enter into a long 
and critical debate upon all these texts, I will venture 
to trust the sense of it in this place with any sincere 
and unlearned reader. 


But if we consult the learned Dr. Whitby, he will 
tell us, that it was a fomiliar phrase of the Jews to 
say, on a just man's clyin^s^, ' to day shall he sit in the 
bosom of Abraham:' And it was their opinion, that 
the * souls of the righteous, who were very eminent 
in piety, were carried immediately into paradise.' 
The Chaldee paraphrase on Solomon's Song, iv. 12. 
takes some notice of the * souls of the just, who are 
carried into paradise by the hands of angels.' Gro- 
tius, in his notes on Luke xxiii. 43. fe.entions the 
heartv and serious wish of the Jews concernins: their 
friends who are dead, in the language of the Tal- 
mudical writers, ' let his soul be gathered to the gar- 
den of Eden:' And, in their solemn prayers when 
one dies, ' let him have his portion in paradise, and 
also in the world to come,' by which they mean the 
state of the resurrection, and plainly distinguish it 
from this immediate entrance into Eden or paradise 
at the hour of deaih. The Jews suppose Enoch to 
be carried to paradise even in his body; and that the 
souls of good men have no interruption of life, but 
that there was a 'reward for blameless souls,' as the 
book of Wisdom speaks, chap. ii. 22. *' For God cre- 
ated man to be immortal, and to be an image of his 
own eternity," which seems to sup[)OS^ blameless souls 
entering into this reivard without interruption of their 
life. And, if this be the meaning of^ paradise among 
the Jews, doubtless our Saviour spake the words in 
buch a knov» nand common sense, in which the peni- 
tent thief would easily and presently understand him, 
it being a promise of grace in his dying hour, where- 


in he had no long time to study hard for the sense of 
it, or consult the critics in order to find the meaning. 

AVe come now to consider the writings of St. 
Paul: And it is certain, that the most natural and 
obvious sense of his words, in many places of his 
epistles, refer to a Separate State of the souls after 
death; For, as he was a Pnarisee in his sentiments 
of religion, so he seems to be something of a Platon- 
ist in philosophy, so far as Christianity admitted the 
same principles. Why then should it not be reason- 
ably supposed, wheresoever he speaks of this subject, 
and speaks in their language too, that he means the 
same thing which the Pharisees and Platonists believ- 
cd, that is, the immortality and life of the soul in 
a Separate State. But I proceed to the particular 

V. 2 Cor. V. 6, 8. *' Therefore we are always con- 
fident, (or of good courage,) knowing, that whilst we 
are at home in the body we are absent from the 
Lord: We are confident, I say, and willing mther to 
be absent from the body, and to be present with the 
Lord." The apostle ver. 4. seems to wish that he 
might be clothed upon at once with immortality in 
soul and body, without dying or being unclothed : 
But since things are otherwise determined, then, in 
the next place, he would rather choose * absence 
from the body,' that he might be < present with the 
Lord.' These words seem to be so plain, so express, 
and so unanswerable a proof of the spirits of good 
men existing in a Separate State, and being ' present 
with the Lord' when thev are * absent from the 


body' at death, that I could never meet but with 
two ways of evading it. 

The first is what a gentleman many years ago, 
who professed Christianity, acknowledged to me, viz. 
that he believed St. Paul did mean, in this place, the 
same sense in which I have explained him; but he 
thought St. Paul might be mistaken in his opinion, 
for he was not of the apostle's mind in this point. 
I think I need not tarry to refute this answer : But 
I may make this remark upon it, viz. that the sense 
of St. Paul concerning the Separate State was so evi- 
dent, in this place, that this man had rather differ 
from the apostle than deny this to be his meaning. 
Ail his prejudices against this doctrine could not 
hhuier him from acknowledging that the apostle be- 
lieved and taught it. 

The second way of evading it is, that this text, 
with one or two others of like kind, do indeed speak 
of the happiness of souls in a Separate StJte, but it 
doth refer only to the apostles themselves, who had 
this peculiar favour and privilege granted them by 
Christ, to follow him to paradise and enjoy his pre- 
sence there, while the souls of other Christians were 
asleep, unconscious and unactive till the resurrec- 
tion. , 

Ansiver 1. It is granted indeed, that several verses 
of this chapter, as well as in the former, have a pecu- 
liar reference to the ministers of Christ, and perhaps 
to the apostles who were his ambassadors ; but there 
are many things in both these chapters that are per- 
fectly applicable to every Christian, and the verses 



just before and just after this eighth verse, may be- 
long to all good men as well as to the apostles or 
ministers. *' He that hath wrought us for the self-same 
thing," i. e. for the happiness of the future state, " is 
God, who hath also given unto us the earnest of the 
Spirit," at least as an enlightener and sanctifier, if 
not as the author of special gifts, for Rom. viii. 9. 
*' If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none 
of his." And ver, 6. *' therefore we are always con- 
fident," or of good courage, '« knowing that whilst 
we are at home in the body ,we are absent from the 
Lord, for we walk by faith not by sight." This is 
or should be the character of every Christian. And 
the 9th verse that follows it belongs to all the saints: 
•* Wherefore we labour that whether present or ab- 
sent we may be accepted of him ; for we must all 
appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every 
one may receive the things done in his body accord, 
ing to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.'* 
Now why should we suppose that St. Paul excludes 
all other Christians besides himself and his brethren 
the apostles from the blessing of the 8th verse, viz. 
that when they are ** absent from the body they 
shall be present with the Lord," since the verses all 
round it are applicable to all Christians? 

Aiiswer 2. These chapters were written with a de- 
sign not only to vindicate and encourage the apostle 
himself under the sufferings and reproaches which he 
met with, but doubtless to give encouragement to the 
Corinthians, and all Christians under any sufferings 
or reproaches they might meet with in the world; 


that (as he expresses it a little before) they might 
learn «*' to walk by fiiith and to look at the things 
which are unseen, which are eternal." And indeed 
if this peculiar blessing of the happiness of a Sepa- 
rate State belongs only to the apostles, how much 
are the comforts of the New Testament narrowed 
and diminished, and the fjith and hope of common 
Christians discouraged and enervated, and their mo- 
tives to holiness weakened, when they are told, that 
they have nothing to do to lay hold upon such promi- 
sed favours, such revelations of grace, because they 
belong only to the apostles and not to them. 

And indeed how shall common Christians ever 
know what part of the epistles they may apply to 
themselves for their direction and consolation, if they 
may not hope in such words of grace, where the holy 
writers use the word %vc, and do not plainly intimate 
that they belong to preachers or apostles only ? 

Ansiver 3. When our Saviour prays for himself 
and his apostles in the beginning of the xviith of St. 
John, he comes in the 20th verse to extend the bless- 
ings he had prayed for to all believers. Ver. 20. 
** Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also 
which shall believe on me through their word; that 
they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and 
1 in thee, that they may be one in us; that the world 
may believe that thou hast sent me." Ver. 24. *< Fa- 
ther, I will that they also whom thou hast given me 
may be with me where I am, that they may behold 
my glory which thou hast given me." Here it is 
evident that our Saviour prays that those that shall 


believe on him through the word of the Apostles may- 
be present with him in his kingdom to behold his 
glory; and is not that a very considerable part of his 
glory, which ihe Father hath conferred upon him to 
be Lord and King and head of his church? but this 
peculiar glory reaches no further than the resurrec- 
tion and judgment, and cannot be seen afterwards; 
for in 1 Cor. xv. 24. *' then cometh the end, and 
Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to God the Fa- 
ther ; the Son himself also shall be subject unto the 
Father, that God may be all in all," ver. 28. 

As for that final blaze of supreme glory wherein 
Christ shall appear at the day of judgment just be- 
fore he resigns up his kingdom, and which perhaps 
is once called his kingdom, 2 Tim. iv. 1. When 
*' he shall come in the glory of his Father and of his 
holy angels as well as his own," Mark viii. 38. The 
sight of it shall be public and common to all the 
world, and not any peculiar favour to the saints. 

It seems therefore most probable that it is only or 
chiefly in the Separate State of souls departed, that 
the saints have a special promise of beholding this 
mediatorial glory of Christ in his kingdom; and this 
favour our Saviour entreats of his Father for others 
that shall believe on him, as well as for his Apostles. 

I might here take occasion to enquire whether eve- 
ry text which promises to other Christians as well as 
to the Apostles, a dwelling with Christ * in his king- 
dom,' must not have a more special reference to the 
glory of the Separate State ; upon this very account, 
because this kingdom of Christ ceases at the resur- 


rection and judgment; and particularly that text in 
2 Pet. i. 11. ** so an entrance shall be ministered un- 
to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ :" which is often 
in Scripture called e'oerlasting because it continues 
to the end of the world; and the ' abundant entrance 
into it' very naturally refers to our departure from 
this life. 

Jnswer 4. I cannot find any text of Scripture 
where ihis blessing of being * present with the Lord* 
after death in the Separate State is limited only to the 
Apostles : I read not one word of such a peculiar fa- 
vour promised them by Christ ; and therefore accord- 
ing to the current course of several other places of 
Scripture which have been here produced, I am per- 
suaded it belongs to all true Christians, unless the 
Apostle in some plainer manner had limited it to him- 
self and his tw^elve brethren, and secluded or forbid 
our hopes of it. 

After all, if it be allowed that the Apostles may en- 
joy the blessedness of a Separate State before the re- 
surrection, then there is such a thing as a * Separate 
State of happiness for souls:' This precludes at once 
all the arguments against it that arise from the na- 
ture of things, and from any supposed impropriety in 
such a divine constitution; And since it is granted 
that there are millions of angels and several human 
spirits in this unbodied state, enjoying happiness, I 
see no reason why the rest of the unbodied spirits of 
saints departed should not be received to their soci- 


ety after death, unless there were some particular 
Scriptures that excluded them from it. 

VI. Phil. i. 23, 24. *' For I am in a strait betwixt 
two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; 
which is far better: nevertheless, to abide in the 
flesh is more needful for you." When the apostle 
speaks here of his ** abiding in the flesh," and his 
** departing from the flesh," he declares the Jirst was 
the more needful for the Philippians, to promote re- 
ligion in their hearts and lives; but the second would 
be better for himself, for he should be with Christ, 
when he was departed from the flesh. 

I would only ask any reasonable man to determine 
whether, when St. Paul speaks of his ** being with 
Christ" after his departure from the flesh, he can 
suppose that the Apostle did not expect to see Christ 
till the resurrection, which he knew would be a con- 
siderable distance of time, though perhaps it has 
proved many hundred years longer than the Apostle 
himself expected it ? No ; it is evident he hoped to 
* be present with the Lord' immediately as soon as 
he was ' absent from the body ;' otherwise, as I hcive 
hinted before, deatb to him would have been but of 
little gain if he must have lain sleeping till the dead 
shall rise, and have been cut off" from his delighiful 
service for Christ in the gospel and all the blf ssed 
communications of his grace. The objection which 
may arise here also from supposing this to be a pecu- 
liar favour granted to the Apostles is answered just 


VII. Heb. xii. 23. ** Ye are come to the heavenly 
Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to 
the general assembly and church of the first born 
which are written for registered J in heaven, to God 
the judge of all, sind to the spirits of just men made 
perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the New cove- 
nant," i. e. The gospel or the Christian state brings 
good men into a nearer union and communion with 
the heavenly world, and the inhabitants thereof, than 
the Jewish state could do : now the inhabitants of this 
upper world, this heavenly Jerusalem, are here rec- 
koned up, God as the prime Lord or Head; Jesus 
the mediator as the King of his church ; ' the innu- 
merable company of angels' as ministers of his king- 
dom ; * the general assembly' of God's favourites or 
children who are called the fcrst'born\ perhaps this 
may refer in general to all the saints of all ages past 
and to come whose names are written in the book of 
life in heaven ; and particularly to the * separate spi- 
rits of just men' who are departed from this world, 
and are made perfect in the heavenly state. The 
criticisms that are used to put other senses upon 
these words seem to carry them away so far from their 
more plain and obvious meaning, that I can hardly 
think ihcy are the meaning of the Apostle ; for it 
would be of very little use for a common Christian 
to read these verses of divine consolation and grace, 
if he could take no comfort from them until he had 
learnt those critical and distant expositions of such 
plain language. 


It has been indeed objected against the plain sense 
of this text, that the spirits of the just or good me7i 
are not yet made perfect in heaven, because the same 
Apostle, Heb. xi. 39, 40. says, '' These all, (i. e. the 
saints of the Old Testament,) having obtained a 
good report throuu:h faith, received not the promises, 
God having provided some better thing for us, that 
they without us should not be made perfect:" Now 
these had been dead for many generations, yet they 
received not the promises nor were made perfect. 
Thus saith the ol^jection. 

But the evident meaning of this text is, that they 
lived and died in the faith of many promises, some 
of which were to be fulfilled after their days here on 
earth, but were not fulfilled in their life- time : they 
did not enjoy the privileges and the blessings of the 
gospel of the Messiah in that perfect manner in which 
we do since the Messiah is actually come and has 
fulfilled these promises, and by his death, * or offer- 
ing himself,' as the same apostle expresses it, *' for 
ever perfected them that are sanctified," Heb. x. 14. 
But all this does by no means preclude their exist- 
ence and happiness in a Separate State as * spirits 
made perfect,' i. e. in a perfect freedom from all sin 
and sorrow; though it is probable this veiy state of 
comparative perfection might have several degrees of 
joy added to it at the ascension of Christ, and will 
have manv more at the resurrection from the dead. 

VIII. 2 Pet. i. 13. ** I think it meet, as long as I 
am in this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you 
in remembrance ; knowing that shordy I must put 


oft' this my tabernacle." Here it is evident that the 
person who ' thinks it meet to stir up' Christians to 
their duty, has a tabernacle belonging to him, and 
which he must shortly put off. The soul or thinking 
principle of the Apostle Peter, which is here suppos- 
ed to be himself^ is ^o plainly distinguished from the 
tabernacle of the body in which he dwelt for a sea- 
son, and which ht must put off shortly^ that it most evi- 
dently implies an existence of this thinking soul ve- 
ry distinct from the body, and which will exist when 
the body is laid aside. Surely the conscious being 
and its tabernacle or dwelling place are two very dis- 
tinct things, and the conscious being exists when he 
puts off his present dwelling. 

After all these arguments from Scripture, may I 
be permitted to mention one which is derived partly 
from reason and partly from the sacred records, 
which seems to carry some weight with it. 

The doctrine of rewards and punishments in a Se- 
parate State of souls hath been one of the very chief 
principles or motives whereby virtue and religion 
have been maintained in this sinful world throughout 
all former ages and nations, and under the several 
dispensations of God among men, until the resur- 
rection of the body was fully revealed ; Now, it is 
scarce to be supposed that such a doctrine, which 
God, in the course of his providence, hath made use 
of as a chief principle and motive of religion and vir- 
tue, through all the world which had any true virtue, 
and in all ages before Christianity, should be a false 
doctrine. Let us prove the first proposition by a 


view of the several ages of mankind and dispensa- 
tions of reiigion. 

The Heathens, who have had nothing else but the 
light of nature to guide them, could have no notion 
at all of the resurrection of the body ; and therefore, 
not only the wisest and best of them, but perhaps the 
bulk of mankind among the Gentiles, at least in Eu- 
rope and Asia, if not in Africa and America also, 
who have been taught by priests, and poets, and the 
public opinions of their nation, and traditions of their 
ancestors, have generally supposed such a Separate 
State after this life, wherein their souls should be re- 
warded or punished, except where the fancy of /r^;?^- 
migration prevailed; and even these very transmi- 
grations into other bodies, viz. of dogs, or horses, or 
men, were assigned as speedy rewards or punish- 
ments of their behaviour in this life. 

Now, though this doctrine of immediate recom- 
pences could not be proved by them with certainty 
and clearness, and had many follies mingled with it, 
yet the probable expectation of it, so far as it hath 
obtained among men, hath had a good degree of in- 
fluence through the conduct of common providence, 
to keep the world in some tolerable order, and pre- 
vent universal irregularities and excesses of the high- 
est degree; it hath had some force on the conscience 
to restrain the enormous wickedness of men., 

The patriarchs of the first ages, whose history is 
related in Scripture, had no notion of the resurrec- 
tion of the body expressly revealed to them that we 
can find; and it must be the hope of such a state of 


recompence of their souls after death, that influenced 
their practice of piety, if they were not informed that 
their bodies should rise again. 

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, had no plain and distinct 
promise of the resurrection of the body ; yet it is 
said, Heb. xi. 14. *'They received the promises," 
that is, of some future happiness, '* and embraced 
them, and confessed ihey were stran^sjers and pilgrims 
on earth, whereby they plainly declared, that they 
sought some other country, i. e. an heavenly, and 
God hath prepared a city for them." What city, 
what heci'^enly country can this be, which they them- 
selves sought after, but the city or country of Sepa- 
rate Souls or paradise, where good men are reward- 
ed, and God is their God, if they had no plain pro- 
mises or views of a resurrection of the body? And 
indeed they had need of a very plain and express pro- 
mise of such a resurrection, to encourage their faith 
and obedience, if they had no notion or belief of a 
Separate State, or a heavenly country ^ whither their 
souls should go at their death. 

Job seems to have some bright glimpses of resur- 
rection in chap, xixth, but this was far above the 
level of the dispensation wherein he lived, and a pe- 
culiar and distinguishing favour granted to him un- 
der his uncommon and peculiar sufferings. 

In the institution of the Jewish religion by Moses, 
there is no express mention of a resurrection, and we 
must suppose their hope of a future state was chiefly 
such a? they could gain from the light of nature, and 
learn by traditions from their fathers, or from un- 


written instructions. For, though our Saviour im- 
proves the words of God to Moses in the bush, *' I 
am the God of Abraham," &c. so far as to prove a 
resurrection from them, yet we can hardly suppose 
the Israelites could carry it any further, than merely 
to the happiness of Abraham's soul, &c. in some Se- 
parate State; and thence came the notion of depart- 
ed souls of good men " going to the bosom of Abra- 

I grant that David in his Psalms, Isaiah and Daniel 
in their prophecies, have some hints of the resurrec- 
tion of the body; but this doth not seem to have 
been the common principle or support of virtue and 
goodness, or a general article of belief among the 
Jews in the early ages. 

In the days of the later prophets, and after their 
return from Babylon, I confess the Jews had some 
notions of a resurrection; but they also retained 
their opinion of the '' righteous souls being at rest 
with God" in a Separate State before the resurrec- 
tion. See the book of Wisdom, chap. iii. 1, 2, 3, 
4. *' The souls of the righteous are in the hand of 
God, and there shall no torment touch them. In 
the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, and their 
departure is taken for misery, and their going from 
us to be utter destruction; but they are in peace; 
for, though they be perished in the sight of men, yet 
is their hope full of immortality, and iv. 7. Though 
the righteous be prevented with death, yet they shall 
be in rest." 



That this was the most common doctrine of the 
Jews, except the Sadckicees and their followers, in 
our Saviour's time, and that it was the doctrine of 
the primitive Christians also, need not be proved 
here ; though they also had the expectation of the 
resurrection of the body. 

Now, if this be the chief or only doctrine which 
men could attain to under the dispensation of natural 
reason, as the most powerful motive to virtue and 
piety, if this be the chiefest doctrine of that kind that 
we know of, which the patriarchs and primitive Jews 
enjoyed, if this also be a constant doctrine of later 
Jews, i. e. the wisest and best of them, and also of 
the prhnithe Christians^ which had so much influence 
on the good behaviour of all of them toward God and 
men, and by which God carried on his work of piety 
in their hearts and lives, and by which also he im- 
prest the consciences of evil men, in some measure, 
and restrained them from their utmost excesses of 
vice and wickedness, is it not hard to be supposed 
that this doctrine is all mere fancy and delusion, and 
hath nothing of truth in it? And indeed, if this doc- 
trine had been taken away, the Heathens would be 
left without any possible true notion of a future state 
of recompence, and the Patriarchs seem to have had 
no sufficient principle or motive to virtue and piety 
left them, and the principles and motives of goodness 
in the following ages among Jews and Christians, 
had been greatly diminished and enfeebled. 

At the conclusion of this chapter, I cannot help 
taking notice, (though I shall but just mention it,) 


that the multitude of narratives which we have heard 
of in all ages of the * apparition of the spirits or 
ghosts' of persons departed from this life, can hardly 
be all delusion and falsehood. Some of them have 
been affirmed to appear upon such great and impor- 
tant occasions, as may be equal to such an unusual 
event: And several of these accounts have been at- 
tested by such witnesses of wisdom, and prudence, 
and sagacity, under no distempers of imagination, 
that they may jusdy demand a belief; and the effects 
of these apparitions in the discovery of murthers and 
things unknown, have been so considerable and use- 
ful, that a fair disputant should hardly venture to run 
directly counter to such a cloud of witnesses, without 
some good assurance on the contrary side. He must 
be a shrewd philosopher indeed, who, upon any other 
hypothesis, can give a tolerable account of all the nar- 
ratives in GlanviWs Saddiicismus Trhunphatus, or 
Baxter'^s JVorld of spirits and apparitions, h?c> 
Though I vvill grant some of these stories have but 
insufficient proof, yet, if there be but one real appari- 
tion of a departed spirit, then the point is gained, 
that there is a Separate State. 

And indeed, the Scripture itself seems to mention 
such sort of ghosts or appearances of souls departed, 
Matth. xiv. 26. When the disciples saw Jesus walk- 
ing on the water, they '' thought it had been a spi- 
rit;" And, Luke xxiv. 36. After his resurrection 
they saw him at once appearing in the midst of them, 
*' and they supposed they had seen a spirit;" and 
©ur Saviour doth not contradict their notion, but 


argues with them upon the supposition of the truth 
of it, *' A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see 
me to have." And Acts xxiii. 8, 9. The word 
spirit seems to signify the ' apparition of a departed 
soui,' where it is said '* the Sadducees say, There is 
no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit," and ver. 
9. *' If a spirit or an angel hath spoken to this man," 
&c. A spirit here is plainly distinct from an angel, 
and what can it mean but an apparition of a human 
soul which has left the body ? 


Objections answered. 

HAVING pointed out so many springs of argu- 
ment to support this doctrine, from the word of God 
as well as from reason and tradition, I proceed now 
to answer some particular objections which are raised 
against it. 

Object. I. The Scripture is so far from supposing 
that the soul of man is immortal, or that there is any 
such thing as the life of the soul continuing after the 
death of the body, that it often speaks of the <* death 
of the soul," if the words were translated exactly ac- 
cording to the original. Numb. xxxi. 19. '' Whoso- 
ever hath killed any person," Hebr. any soul. 1 Sam. 
xxii. 22. <*I have occasioned the death of every 
^C7z// of thy fluher's house." Judges xvi. 30. ''And 
Sampson said, Let my soul die wiUi the Philistines." 


Ezek. xviii. 20. ** The soul that sirtneth it shall die.'' 
Psal. Ixxxix. 48. *'AVhat man is he that liveth and 
shall not see death? shall he deliver his ^^z// from the 
hand of the grave?" 1 Kings xix. 4. ** Elijah re- 
quested for himself that he might die," Hebr. that 
his soul might die. 

Ansnv, The word soulm English, Nephesh in He- 
brew, Psyche in Greek, and Anima in Latin, &:c. 
signifies not only the conscious and active principle 
in man, which thinks and reasons, loves and hates, 
hopes and fears, and which is the proper agent in vir- 
tue or vice, but it is used also to signify the principle 
of animal life and motion in a living creature. And, 
though these two in themselves are very distinct 
things, yet, upon this account, the word soul is attri- 
buted to brutes as well as to men : For the Jews as w ell 
as some Heathens, in their mistaken philosophy, sup- 
posed the same soul of man ^ which gives natural life 
to the body, to be also that very intellectual principle, 
which thinks and reasons, fears and loves; and, upon 
this account, they gave both these principles, how 
distinct soever in themselves, one common name, 
and called them the souL 

Now, the soul^ or the principle of animal life and 
motion, being the chief or most valuable thing in an 
animal, it came to pass that the whole animal was 
called a soul: therefore, even birds and fishes are 
called '' living souls," Gen. i> 20. and any animals 
whatsoever in Scripture are called souls or Ihing souls. 
And then, for the same reason, i. e. because the soul 
of man is his chief part, the whole person of man is 
called his soul, Gen. ii. 7. '' 3Ian became a living 


soul,*' i. e. a living person. So Exod. i. 5, '' All 
the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were 
seventy souls," i. e. all the persons were seventy. 

And this is not only the language of the Jews, but 
even of other nations. In our country we use the 
word souls io signify persons: So we say *a poor 
soul,' when we see a person in misery; we use the 
word * a meagre soul,' for a thin man; we say, * there 
were twenty souls lost in the ship,' i. e. twenty per- 
sons,' &c. 

Now, the word soul among the Jews being so uni- 
versally used to signify the person of man ^ they used 
the same w^ord to signify the person when he was 
dead as v/ell as when he was alive. Numb. vi. 6. 
*' He shall come at no dead body," in the liebr. no 
dead soul, i. e. no dead man or woman, or perhaps 
no dead animal. 

Since the word soul is taken so often and so com- 
moiily to signify the person of a man or woman, no 
wonder that there is so frequent mention of souls dy- 
ing in the Scripture, when human persons die. 

And, if the soul signify a man or woman when 
they are dead as well as when living, here is a fair ac- 
count why the Scriptures may speak of the *' souls 
going down to the grave," or being '* delivered from 
the grave," &c. Psal. Ixxxix. 48. '' Shall he deliver 
his soul from tlie hand of the grave?" This may 
either denote his principle of animal life, or his per- 
son, i. e. himself. 

Now this account of things is very consistent with 
the scriptural doctrine cf the distinction of the inteU 
ligcnt soul of man from his body, and the mtellig^m 


souths survival of the body, nor do any of these scrip- 
tural expressions concerning the ^W forbid this sup- 
position: For, though in some places, the virord soul 
signifies the person of the man or his body^ or that 
animal principle which may die, yet in other places it 
signifies that intelligent or thinking principle which 
cannot die, as we have before proved where our Savi- 
our tells us, '* we should not fear them that kill the 
body, but cannot kill the soul." Wheresoever the 
Scripture speaks of a *' soul's being killed," it 
only means that the * person who was mortal is 
slain,' i. e. the life of the body is destroyed, and the 
man considered as a compound being made up of soul 
and body is in some sense dissolved when one part 
of the composition dies. But where the soul signi- 
fies the intellectual principle in man, it is never said 
to die^ unless when the word death means a loss of 
happiness, or living in misery; but this implies na- 
tural life still, for this soul cannot naturally be de- 
stroyed by any power but that which made it. 

If any person object that the apostle in Acts ii. 51. 
says, *' the soul of Christ was not left in hell, or the 
grave;" for so the word in the Hebrew^ may signify, 
Psal. xvi. 10. whence this is cited ; there is a suffici- 
ent answer to be given to this two or three ways. It 
may be construed, that the principle of the animal 
life of Christ was not left to continue in death ; or 
that the person of the man Jesus was not left in death 
or the grave, the body being sometimes put for the 
person; or it may be as well construed, that the spi- 
rit of Christ or his intellectual soul was not left in 


the state of the dead, or of separation from the body, 
which the word sheol in the Hebrew, and «<^«5 in 
Greek, signify. 

Here it may be observed also, that the word which 
signifies spirit^ ruach, pneuma^ spiritus^ in Hebrew, 
Greek and Latin, and other languages, is used some- 
times for air or breath, which is supposed to be the 
principle of life to the animal body; and sometimes 
it signifies the intellectual soulj the conscious and ac- 
tive principle in man ; and therefore whatsoever may 
be said of the spirifs dyings or being lost, is no proof 
that the conscious principle in man dies, which is a 
very different thing from breath or air. 

Perhaps it will be said here, does not Moses sup- 
pose breath to be the soul or spirit in man, when he 
says, Gen. ii. 7. " God breathed into his nostrils 
the breath of life, and man became a living soul." 

I answer, it is evident that Moses makes a plain 
difference between God's formation of man and brutes, 
for he makes no distinction between their soul and 
body in their creation; but he distinguishes the soul 
from the body of man, in his creation, speaking ac- 
cording to the common language and philosophy of 
that age as though the soul were in the breath: Nor 
vi^as it proper to speak in strict philosophical language 
to those ignorant people; nor were the modes of ex- 
pression in the Bible so peculiarly formed to teach 
us philosophy as religion. 

But of this distinction between the * soul of a brute,* 
and the ' soul of a man,' there seems to be a plain 
intimation given by Solomon in the book of Ecclesi- 


astes, chap. iii. 21. ** Who knoweth the spirit of 
man that goeth upward, and the spirit of a beast that 
goeth downward to the eardi?" that the 'spirit of 
man,' i. e. his conscious and intellectual principle 
* goeth upward,' or survives at the death of the body, 
but ' the spirit of the beast,' i. e. the spring of its ani- 
mal life, < goeth down to the earth,' is mingled with 
the common elements of this material world and en- 
tirely lost. 

But the wise man in this place perhaps expresses 
some of his former atheistical doubts, saying, * who 
knows' whether there is any difference between them? 
yet it intimates thus much, that men who pretended 
to wisdom in that age, supposed such a difference 
between the spirit of man and the spirit of a brute. 

Object, II. Is taken from Psal. vi. 5. *' In death 
there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave who 
shall give thee thanks?" and Psal. cxlvi. 4. '* His 
breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that 
very day his thoughts perish." And Eccles. ix. 5. 
*' The living kliow that they shall die, but the dead 
know not anything." From all which words some 
would infer there is no such thing as a Separate State 
of souls. 

Ansiv. Both David and his son Solomon exclude all 
such sort of thoughts and actions, both religious and 
civil, from the state of death as are practised in this 
life, all the pursuits of their present purposes, their 
present way and manner of divine worship, and their 
management or consciousness of human affairs: But 
they do not exclude all manner of consciousness, 



knowledge, thought or action, such as maybe suited 
to the invisible state of spirits. The design of the 
writers in those places of Scripture requires no more 
than this, and therefore the words cannot be constru- 
ed to any farther sense, or to exclude the conscious 
and active powers of a separate spirit from their pro- 
per exercise in that invisible world, though they have 
done with all their actions in the present visible 

Object, III. Is taken from John xiv. 3. *'If I go 
and prepare a place for you, I will come again and re- 
ceive you to myself, that where I am there ye may- 
be also;" which seems to determine the point, that 
the followers of Christ were not to be present with 
him until he came again to this world to raise the 
dead, and to take his disciples to dwell with him. 

Answ. 1. It hath been already granted by some 
persons who doubt of the Separate State of all souls, 
that the Apostles had this special favour allowed them 
to be received into the presence of Christ when they 
departed from this body: Now these words were 
spoken to the Apostles, and therefore they cannot 
preclude this privilege which they expected, viz. 
that when they were ' absent from the body' they 
should be ' present with the Lord,- 2 Cor. v. 8. 

A?isw. 2. ' Christ came again' to his disciples at 
his own resurrection from the dead, and taught them 
the things of the other world, and better prepared 
them for the happiness of heaven and his own pre- 
sence: He came again also by the destruction of the 
Jewish state, and called his own people thence before- 


hand, as an emblem of their salvation when the world 
should be destroyed. He also came again at their 
death; when he * that hath the keys of death and the 
invisible world' let them out of the prison of the bo- 
dy into the Separate State, that they might dwell with 
him: The ' coming of Christ' has many and various 
senses in the New Testament, and need not be re- 
ferred only to his 'coming at the day of judgment.' 

Afisw, 3. But suppose in this place. the words of 
Christ be construed concerning his * great and public 
coming' to raise the dead and judge the world; it is 
certain that in that day the disciples shall be receiv- 
ed to * dwell with him' in a much more complete and 
glorious manner, when both soul and body shall be 
made the inhabitants of heaven : But this does not 
preclude or forbid that the separate souls of his fol- 
lowers should be favoured with his presence in para- 
dise before his public coming to judge the world. 
Though the last and greatest blessing be only men- 
tioned here, it does not exclude the former. 

Olpject. IV. St. Paul in Phil. iii. 10, 11. says, that 
he desired '' to know Christ and the power of his re- 
surrection, (&c.) if by any means he might attain to 
the resurrection of the dead:" Now what need had 
the Apostle to be so solicitous about the resurrection 
if he expected to be with Christ immediately upon 
his death, since being with Christ is the state of ulti- 
mate happiness? 

Aj2s%v, 1. Some learned men suppose that the Apos- 
tle here presses after some peculiar exaltations of 
piety in this world, and after an interest in somejirst 


resurrection, or resurrection of the martyrs and most 
eminent saints, which would be long before the gene- 
ral resurrection of all the dead, according to the visi- 
ons of St. John, Rev. xx. 4 — 7. But as I am not 
sufficiently acquainted with the sense of that prophecy 
to determine my opinion on this side, I proceed to 
other answers. 

Jnsw. 2. What if the words of St. Paul in this 
place to the Philipians, should mean no more than 
this, as ver. 13. 14, '* I forgot the things that are be. 
hind,'* as though I had gained so little already as not 
to be worth my notice; ** and I reach forth unto those 
things which are before," i. e. further degress of ho- 
liness to be obtained, * pressing towards the mark' of 
perfection, ' if by any means I might be made so con- 
form able to the death Christ,' as to be entirely dead 
to sin, and * if by any means I might attain to the re- 
surrection of the dead,' i. e. to such a perfection of 
holiness as is represented by the resurrection of 
Christ, Rom. vi. or as that in which the * dead saints 
shall be raised;' for I know * I have not already at- 
tained it, nor am already perfect.' 

A71SW, 3. Suppose the soul of St. Paul to be pre- 
sent with Christ after death in heaven in the Separate 
State, yet this is not the ultimate or highest * happiness 
of the saints,' and therefore he aimed at something 
higher and further, namely, the more complete happi- 
ness which he should enjoy at the resurrection of the 

Object, V. Is borrowed from several verses of 1 
Cor. XV. where the Apostle is imagined to argue 


thus, ** If there be no resurrection of the dead," ver. 
18. ** Then they which are fallen asleep in Christ 
are perished," ver. 19. " Then we have hope only 
in this life," and nothing else to support us. Then 
ver. 32. *' What advantage" do I get by all my suffer- 
ings for Christ, if the dead rise not? We had better 
comply with the appetites of the flesh and enjoy a 
merry life here, " Let us cat and drink for to-morrow 
we die;" whereby it is evident that the Apostle 
places the blessed expectation * of those that are Mien 
asleep in Christ' only and entirely upon their being 
' raised from the dead,' which he would not have 
done if there had been such a Separate State : he ex- 
tends * our hope in Christ' beyond this /{/?, and 
raises his own expectation of ad'uafitagc or reward for 
his sufterings on the account of the gospel entirely 
and only upon the *resurrectiojiof the dead,' having 
no notion of any' happiness in a Separate State of 
souls: for if he had any such opinion or hope, this 
expectation of the happiness of the soul in a Separate 
State might have been a sufficient proof that those 
who died or slept in the Mth of Christ, are * not per- 
ished,' and he had abundant reward for his sufferings 
in that world of separate souls without the resurrec- 
tion of the body. 

Answ, 1. It must be granted that the Scripture, ifi 
order to support Christians under present trials, 
chiefly refers them to the day of the resurrection and 
final judgment, as the great and chief season of re- 
tribution: the reason of this will appear under my 
answer to a following objection: Nov/ tlie Apostle 
may be supposed to argue here only on this foot, nc- 


glecting or overlooking the Separate State, as though 
thivS final retribution at and after the resurrection of 
the body were comparatively the whole, because it is 
far the chief and most considerable part, being much 
the most sensible, and conspicuous, and of the long- 
est duration. The chief part of any thing is often 
taken for the whole ; and if there were no resurrec- 
tion of the dead, i. e. if there were no state of retri- 
bution at all, then the Epicurean reasoning would 
be good, ' Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we 

And, to confirm this exposition, we may take no- 
tice, that in other places of Scripture, w here the * re- 
surrt ction of the dead' is mentioned, this anastasis 
includes the whole state of existence after death, both 
the Separate and the resurrection State : This seems 
to be the sense oi it in that famous place, Luke xx. 
55. Where Christ argues with the Sadducees, who 
denied the Separate State as well as the resurrection 
of the body: Now if you take away this anastasis, 
this whole state of existence and retribution, then 
they that suffer for Christ have no advantage or re- 
Gompence, and the Epicurean doctrine is plainly pre- 
ferable, at least in the common sense and reasoning 
of men, and in such seasons of trial and persecution. 

Nor is it unreasonable to suppose that there might 
be some of these principles of Sadducism begun to 
be instilled into some of the Corinthians, viz. that 
theie were no rewards and punishments at all in any 
future state; for he tells them, ver. 54. that some of 
them * had not the knowledge of God,' i. e. as a right- 
eous rewarder of them that diligently seek him, ** I 


speak this," says he, ** to your shame." And ver. 
5, 8. he encourages them to be " stedfast and unmov- 
able, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for 
as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain 
in the Lord;'* i. e. there is certainly a future state 
of recompence for piety, and the discovery of it at 
the resurrection of the dead is the most public and 
glorious part of it, and therefore he insists upon this 

Ansvj* 2. But we may give yet a more particular 
answer to this objection: for if we take in the whole 
scheme of the Apostle's argument in this chapter, we 
shall find there is no sufficient ground for this objec- 
tion against a Separate State. He begins, ver. 12, 
13, &c. and argues thus, "If there be no resurrec- 
tion of the dead, then Christ is not risen," for he rose 
as Xh^ first fruits, and his followers shall be the har- 
vest, ver. 23. but if there be no harvest there were 
no first-fruits : and *' if Christ be not risen, then our 
preaching is vain, and your faith is vain;" ver. 14. 
*'Then we are found false witnesses in matters that 
relate to God," ver. 15. mere impostors, who preach 
a wicked falsehood, and lead you to hope for a hap- 
piness which ye shall never obtain: for *' if Christ, 
who died for our sins," ver. 3. '*be not raised for 
cur justification," as in Rom. iv. ult. <«then are ye 
yet in your sins," ye lie yet under the guilt of sin ; 
and if so, " then also they which have fallen asleep in 
Christ," or have died in the faith of Christ, Siveperisb' 
ed, ver. 18. they must either be condemned, or be 
utterly lost both soul and body, having no ground for 


hope of eternal life, or any life or happiness at all 
hereafter. Then ' the hope of Christians would be 
in this life only,' and we are ' miserable creatures' 
v,i\o suffer so much for Christ's sake, ver. 19. It 
would be better for us who have senses and appe- 
tites as well as other men, to indulge these senses 
and appetites, and ' eat and drink for to-morrow we 
die,' and there is an end of us : There can be no fu- 
ture state of happiness of any kind for us to expect, 
either in soul or body, if we have deceived you in the 
doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, and all our 
gospel be false : We are then such sort of impostors 
and wicked cheats as can have no belief of a future 
state of rewards or punishments, and we had better 
act like ourselves, and like mere Epicureans, give 
ourselves up to all present pleasures than expose our- 
selves to perpetual sufferings for the sake of a man, 
who (if there be no resurrection) died and never rose 
again, and therefore cannot make us any recompence. 
"Now this sort of arguing does not at all preclude the 
Separate State of happiness, but rather establish it. 
I might add here a further answer to this objection^ 
viz. the Apostle is representing the * sufferings of the 
body' for Christ's sake, ver. 30, 31, 32. and there- 
fore he thinks it proper to encourage Christians with 
the recompence of the ' resurrection of the body,' 
without taking any particular notice of the happiness 
of the Separate State of the soul : and in this view of 
things his argument stands good. If there be no re- 
surreetion of the body, there is no recompence for 
sufferings in the body; let us then give the body its 


pleasures of sense; ' Let us eat and drink' while we 
live, for there is an utter end of us in death. But (baith 
he, ver. 32,) such 'evil traditions corrupt all good 
manners,' and therefore the} are not, they cannot be 
true : There must be a resurrection of the body to 
encourage sufferings in the body for the sake of vir- 
tue and religion.* 

Object, VI. Doth not the New Testament con- 
stantly refer the rewards and punishments of good 
and bad men to the time of the resurrection of the 
dead, or the second coming of Christ? Is it not with 
this prospect it terrifies the sinner? Is it not with 
this it comforts the good man, and supports him un- 
der his present sufferings? It would be endless to cite 
all the particular texts on this occasion. That one 
text 1 Thess. iv. 14. speaks the sense of many- 
others, and is sufficient to be cited here. The Apos- 
tle persuades Christians not to *' mourn for the dead 

* There are several pages of just and pertinent answers to this objec- 
tion by my learned and ingenious friend Mr. Henry Grove, in his 

• Thoughts concerning the Proof of a Future Srate from Reason,' which 
confirm the replies I have here made. ' Then they,' saiih he, • who 
are fallen asleep in Christ (by whom the martyrs seem to be more especi- 
ally intended) are perished, for any thing that Christ can do for hem, 
who will never reward them for their sunerings, never restore that life 
which they lost for his sake.' And ])ar'icularly his exposition on those 
words, ' we are most miserable of all men,' is very agreeable to ihe place. 

* The Greek e>.ji/veT«cc< signifies that we are 'more to be pitied' than 
any men, as wanting the common, understanding of men to sutTer death 
for Christ's sake, who would never be able tc recompence us fcr ii:, if he 
be not risen from the dead. And it is (saith he a litje afterward) for 
want of observing the iniermediaie links of the Apostle's argument 
(which he there represents), that some have been at a loss for his mean- 
ing, while others have quite mistaker, it.' See p. 124, 8cc. 



as those that sorrow without hope," and gives this 
reason, *' for those who sleep in Jesus, God will bring 
with him," when he comes to raise the dead, and 
then * they shall be for ever with the Lord ;' and he 
bids them ' comfort one another with these words :■" 
Whereas their comforts had been much nearer at 
hand if he could have told them of the Separate State 
of happiness which the departed souls of their friends 
at present enjoyed ; and if there had been any such 
state he had the fairest opportunity here to introduce 

Ansiv, This very text I have mentioned before as a 
proof of the Separate State, and it is plain the Apos- 
tle seems to hint it, though he doth not insist upon 
it, when he supposes the soul of the deceased to be 
with Christ already; for he saith, *' God will bring 
them with him," i. e. from heaven when he comes 
to raise their bodies. 

But to give a more general answer to the objection, 
as drawn from the silence of Scripture, in many 
places, about this doctrine of the Separate State. 

There are good reasons why the New Testament 
more sparingly mentions the Separate State of souls, 
and doth most frequently (but not constantly) refer 
both rewards and punishments to the resurrection. 

(1.) Because the Heathens themselves (at least the 
wisest and best of them) did believe some sort of fu- 
ture state of happiness or misery, into which the souls 
of men should be disposed when they departed from 
these bodies, according to the vices or virtues they 
hud practised in diis life ; and they derived this doc- 


trine from their reasonings upon the foot of the light 
of nature. The writings of Plato and his followers, 
and the sentiments of Socrates conveyed to us in 
Plato's writings, are full of this opinion, viz. of the 
existence of the souls of good men in a happy state, 
when they depart from the body. Cicero sometimes 
speaks of it as his opinion, his desire and his hope, 
nor were other heathen writers ignorant of this doc- 
trine ; but the New Testament speaks less of this 
point, because it is the evident design of Christ and 
his Apostles to lead their disciples to the more ' pecu- 
liar doctrines of revelation,' rather than to treat them 
with sentiments derived from the light of nature : 
And this doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, 
and the eternal rewards and eternal punishments that 
attend it, are more abundantly mentioned in the New 
Testament, because they stand so much more con- 
nected with the gospel of Christ, and with his own 
resurrection from the dead, which is the chief evi- 
dence of its divine authority. It is Christ who rose 
from the dead, who is appointed to raise and to judge 
all mankind ; and therefore it is natural for the Apos- 
tles in their writings, who desire to keep the death 
and resurrection of Christ always in the view of their 
converts, to point to the awful events of that day, 
when their Saviour, risen from the dead, shall appear 
in the execution of his glorious commission and 
judge the world. Thus St. Paul preaches to the 
Athenians, Acts xvii. 30. "God now commands all 
men every where to repent, because he hath appoint- 
ed a day in which he will judge the world in righte- 


ousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; where- 
of he hcith given assurance to all men, in that he hath 
raised him from the dead." And in many other 
places he connects our resurrection and future re- 
compences with the resurrection of Christ. 

And in this respect, as well as in some others, the 
doctrine of rewards and punishments after the resur- 
rection, seems to carry such superior force in it, 
especially upon those who believe the gospel, that it 
is no wonder the New Testament more frequently 
refers to this great day of resurrection, and the Apos- 
tle derives the chief part of his consolations or ter- 
rors from it. 

(2.) Then will be the ' public and universal re- 
tributions' of vice and virtue in a more solemn man- 
ner exhibited before all the world, whereas the en- 
trance of mankind into the recompences of the Sepa- 
rate State is more private and personal. 

(3.) Then will be the day of complete rewards and 
punishments' of man in both parts of his nature, soul 
and body : All the Separate State belongs only to 
the soul, and even those recompences are but im- 
perfect before in comparison of what they will be 
when body and soul are united. 

(4.) Then will be the most glorious visible and sen- 
sible distinction made between the good and bad ; 
and since this belongs to the body as well as the 
soul, it is very properly set before the eyes of men 
in the holy writings as done at the resurrection ; be- 
cause corporeal and sensible things work more pow- 
erfully on their imagination, and more sensibly and 


eftectiially strike the consciences of men, than the 
notion of mere spiritual rewards and punishments in 
the Sep.irate Suite. 

(5.) The state of rewards and punishments after 
the resurrection, will be f\ir the longest and most du- 
rable recom pence of the good and the bad : And 
therefrjre it is called eternal so often in Scripture ; 
everl,7stin/c; life, and eijerLiSt'mgfire, Matth. xxv. 41. 
Where." s the retributions of the Separate State are 
comparatively but of short duration ; and this is an- 
other \\\hvy that makes a sensible i'upression on the 
hearts of men, viz. the * eternal coiuinu:mce' of the 
joys and sorrows that fallow the last judgment. 

Perhaps it will be replied here, that in the begin- 
ning of this cssyv I represented the Separate State 
as a * more effectual motive' to the hopes and fears 
of men, because the joys and sorrows of it were so 
much ' nearer at hand' than those of the resurrec- 
tion : And why do I now represent the recompences 
of the resurrection under such characters as are fit to 
have the s<:rongest influence, and become the most 
effectual motive ? 

Ansiv. It is granted, that the recompences after the 
resurrection have several circumstances that carry 
with them some peculiar and most powerful motives 
to reliKion and virtue; but that awful day may still 
seem to want this one motive, viz. ' the nearness of 
it,' which belongs eminently to the recompences of 
the Separate State. Now, if the Scripture dot'o 
really reveal the doctrine of rewards and punishments 
of souls immediately after death, and of soul and 


body together at the resurrection, then all those cir- 
cumstances of eiFectual motive to piety are collected 
in our doctrine, viz. the 'immediate nearness of them' 
in the Separate State, and the public appearancey the 
universality, the co?npleteness, the sensibility, and the 
duration of them after the great rising-day. 

I might yet take occasion, from this objection, to 
give a further reason, why the Apostles more fre- 
quently draw their motives of hope and fear from the 
resurrection and the great judgment, i. e. that even 
that day of recompence was generally then supposed 
to be *near at hand,' and so there was less need to 
insist upon the joys and sorrows of the Separate 

As the patriarchs and the Jews of old, after the 
Messiah was promised, were constantly expecting 
hisjirst coming, almost in every generation till he did 
appear, and many modes of prophetical expression 
in Scripture (which speak of things long to come, as 
though they were present or just at hand) gave them 
some occasion for this expection, so the Christians 
of the first age did generally expect * the second com- 
ing' of Christ to judgment, and the resurrection of 
the dead, in that very age wherein it was foretold. 
St. Paul gives us a hint of it in 2 Thess. ii. 1, 2. 
They supposed the * day of the Lord was just appear- 
ing.' And many expressions of Christ concerning 
his return or coming again after his departure, seem- 
ed to represent his absence as a thing of no long con- 
tinuance. It is true, these words of his may partly 
refer to his coming to destroy Jerusalem; and the 


coming in of his kingdom among the Gentiles, or his 
coming by his messenger of death, yet they gene- 
rally, in their supreme and final sense, point to his 
coming to raise the dead and judge the world: And 
from the words of Christ also concerning John, chap, 
xxi. 22. ** If I will that he tarry till I come ;" it is 
probable that the Apostles themselves at first, as well 
as other Christians, might derive this apprehension of 
his speedy coming. 

It is certain, that when Christ speaks of his com- 
ing, in general and promiscuous and parabolical 
terms, whether with regard to the destruction of Je- 
rusalem or the judgment of the world, he saith, 
Matth. xxiv. 34. *' Verily I say unto you, this gene- 
ration shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." 
And the Apostles frequently told the world, the com- 
ing of the Lord was near, Phil. iv. 5. ** The Lord is 
at hand," Heb. x. 25. ** Exhorting one another, so 
much the more as you see the day approaching." 
And that this is the day of the *< coming of Christ." 
ver. 37. assures us, ** For yet a little while, he that 
shall come will come, and will not tarry." Rom. xiii. 
12. *'Now it is high time to awake out of sleep. 
The night is far spent, the day is at hand." 1 Pet. 
iv. 5. '* To him who is ready to judge the quick and 
the dead." Ver. 7. *'The end of all things is at 
hand.'* James v. 8, 9. *' The coming of the Lord 
draweth nigh. Behold the judge standeth at the 
door." Rev. xxii. 10. ** Seal not up the prophecy of 
this book, for the time is at hand." Ver. 12. *' And 
behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, 


to give to every man as his work shaU be:" And 
the sacred volume is closed with rl^is assurance, ver. 
20. *' Surely I come quickly," and iJie echo and the 
expectation of the Apostle or the church, Amen, 
Even so, come Lord Jesus.. 

It is granted, that in prophetical expressions, such 
as all these are, some obscurity is allowed : And it 
may be doubtful, perhaps, whether some of them 
may refer to Christ's coming' by the destruction of 
Jerusalem, or his coming to call particular persons 
away by his messenger of death, or his appearance 
to the last judgment. It is granted also, it belongs 
to propltetical language to set things far distant, as it 
were, before our eyes, and make them seem present 
or very near at hand. But still these expressions 
had plainly such an influence on primitive Christians, 
as that they imagined the day of resurrection and 
judgment was very near: And, since the prophetical 
\vords of Christ and his Apostles seemed to carry 
this appearance in them, and to keep the church un- 
der some uncertainty, it is no wonder that the Apos- 
tles chiefly referred the disciples of that age to the 
day of the resurrection for comfort under their suf- 
ferings and sorrows : And, though they never assert* 
ed that Christ would come to raise the dead and 
judge the world in that age, yet, when they knew 
themselves that he would not come so soon, they 
might not think it necessary to give every Christian, 
nor every church, an immediate account of the more 
distant time of this great event, that the uncertainty 
of it might keep them ever watchful: And even 


when St. Paul informs the Thessalonians that the 
day of the Lord was not so very near as they imagin- 
ed it, 2 Thess. ii. 2. yet he does not put it off be- 
yond that century by any express language. 

Thus we see there is very good reason why the 
New Testament should derive its motives of terror 
and comfort chiefly from the resurrection and the * day 
of judgment;* though it is not altogether silent of 
the Separate State of souls, and their happiness or 
misery, commencing, in some measure, immediately- 
after death, which has been before proved by many- 
Scriptures cited for that purpose. 

Here let it be observed, that I am not concerned in 
that question, Whether human souls separated from 
their bodies have any other corporeal vehicle to vvhich 
they are united, or by uhich they act during the in- 
termediate state between death and die resurrection? 
All that I propose to maintain here, is, that that peri- 
od or interval is not a state of sleep, i. e. utter un- 
consciousness and unactivity: x\nd, whether it be 
united to a vehicle or no, I call it still the Separate 
State, because it is a state of the soul's separation 
from this body, which is united to it in the present 



More Objections answered. 

SINCE this book was written I have met with se- 
veral other objections against the doctrine here main- 
tained ; and, as I think they may all have a sufficient 
answer given to them, and the truth be defended 
against the force of them, I thought it very proper 
to lead the reader into a plain and easy solution of 

Object. VII. Is not long life represented often in 
Scripture, and especially in the Old Testament, as a 
blessing to man ? And, is not death set before us as 
a curse or punishment? But, how can either of these 
representations be just or true, if souls exist in a Se- 
parate State? Are they not then brought into a state 
of liberty by death, and freed from all the inconveni- 
ences of this flesh and blood? By this means death 
ceases to be a punishment, and long life to be a 

Ansnv, It is according as the characters of men 
are either good or bad, and according as good men 
know more or less of a Separate State of rewards or 
punishments, so a long life, or early death, are to be 
esteemed blessings or calamities in a greater or a less 

Long life was represented as a blessing to good 
men, in as much as it gave them opportunity to en* 
joy more of the blessings of this life, and to do more 


service for God in the world: And especially since, 
in ancient times, there was much darkness upon this 
doctrine of the future state, and many good men had 
not so clear a knowledge of it. Long life was also 
a blessing to wicked men, because it kept them in 
a state wherein there were some comforts, and with- 
held them, for a season, from the punishments of the 
Separate State. 

Death was doubtless a punishment and a curse 
when it was first brought into human nature by the 
sin of Adam, as it cut off mankind from the blessings 
of this life, and plunged him into a dark and unknown 
state: And if he were a wicked man, it plunged him 
into certain misery. 

But, since the blessings of the future state of hap- 
piness for good men are more clearly revealed, long 
life is not so very great a blessing, nor death so great 
a punishment to good men ; for death is sanctified 
by the covenant of grace to be an introduction of 
their souls into the Separate State of happiness, and 
the curse is turned in some respect into a blessing. 
Object, VIII. Was it not supposed to be a great 
privilege to Enoch and Elijah when they were trans- 
lated without dying? But, what advantage could it 
be to either of them to carry a body with them to hea- 
ven, if their souls could act without it? 

I answer, when Enoch and Elijah carried their bo* 
dies to heaven with them, it was certainly a sublime 
honour and a peculiar privilege which they enjoyed, 
to have so early an happiness both in flesh and spirit 
conferred upon them so many ages before the rest of 


mankind: For though the soul can act without the 
body, yet as a body is part of the compounded na- 
ture of man, our happiness is not designed to be com- 
plete till the soul and body are united in a state of 
perfection and glory : And this happiness was con- 
ferred early on those two favourites of heaven. 

Object, IX, Was it not designed as a favour when 
persons were raised from the dead under the Old Tes- 
tament or the New, by the Prophets, by Christ, and 
by his Apostles? But what benefit could this be to 
them, if they had consciousness and enjoyment in the 
other world? Was it not rather an injury to bring 
them back from a state of happiness into such a mise- 
rable world as this ? 

Aiisw, 1. Since these souls were designed to be soon 
restored to their bodies, and the persons were to be 
raised to a mortal life again in a few days, it is pro- 
bable they were kept just in the same state of imme- 
morial consciousness, as the soul is in while the 
body is in the deepest sleep; and so were not immedi- 
ately sent to heaven or hell, or determined to a state 
of sensible happiness or misery. Then when the 
person was raised to life again, there was no remem- 
brance of the intermediate state, but all the consci- 
ousness of that day or two vanished and were fori^rot- 
ten for ever, as it is with us when we sleep soundly 
without dreaming. 

Answ. 2. If those who were raised by Christ, or 
the Prophets, or the Apostles, were pious persons, 
they submitted by the will of God to a longer con- 
tinuance in this world, amidst some difficulties and 


sorrows, which submission would be abundantly re- 
compenced hereafter. If they were not good per- 
sons, their renewed life on earth was a reprieve from 
punishment. So there was no injury done to any of 

As for those who were ' raised at the resurrection 
of Christ,' and were ' seen by many persons in the 
holy city,' there is no doubt but they were raised to 
immortality, and ascended to heaven when Christ did, 
as part of his triumphant attendants, and went to 
dwell with him in the heavenly state. 

Object. X. If the martyrs and confessors were to be 
partakers of the first resurrection in Rev. xx. 4, 5. 
would not this be a punishment instead of a blessing, 
to be called from the immediate presence of God and 
Christ and angels, to be re-united to bodies on 
earth and dwell here again with men ? Therefore it 
seems more probable, that the souls of these holy 
martyrs had no such separate existence or enjoyment 
of happiness. 

Answ, Perhaps neither that text nor any others in 
the Bible foretell the resurrection of any number of 
persons to an animal earthly life again in this world: 
Perhaps that prophecy means no more, than that the 
cause of Christ and religion, for which men were 
martyred and beheaded heretofore, shall rise again in 
the world, and the professors of it in that day shall 
be in flourishing circumstances for a thousand years, 
or a very long season : So that in prophetic language 
these words do not signify the same individual mar- 


tyrs or confessors, but their successors in the same 
£uth and practice. 

Or if there should be any resurrection of good men 
to an animal life in this world, foretold by the pro- 
phets, and intended by the great and blessed God, I 
doubt not but they would be here so far separated 
from the wicked world where sins and sorrows reign, 
that it would be a gradual advance of their happi^ 
ness beyond what they enjoyed before in the Sepa- 
rate State, 

Object, XL Though man is often said to be a com- 
pounded creature of soul and body, yet in Scripture 
he is represented as one being: It is the man that is 
born, that lives, that sleeps or wakes, and that rises 
from the dead. This is evident in many places of 
Scripture, where these things are spoken of; and it 
seems to be the law of our nature or being, that we 
should always act and live in such a state as souls 
united to bodies, and never in a state of separation. 

Aiisiv* Though there arc several Scriptures which 
represent man as one being, viz. soul and body unit- 
ed, yet there are many other Scriptures which have 
been cited in the former parts of this essay, wherein 
the souls and the bodies of men are represented as 
two very distinct things: The one goes to the grave 
at death, and the other either into Abraham's bosom, 
or to a place of torment ; either to dwell ' with God,' 
to * be present with Christ the Lord,' and to become 
one of the spirits of the just made perfect, or to go 
to their own place as Judas did. Now those texts 
V, here man is represented as one being, may be e:^-. 


plained with very great ease, considering man as 
made up of two distinct substances, viz. body and 
spirit united into one personal agent, as we have 
shewn before : But the several texts where the soul 
and body are so strongly and plainly distinguished, 
as has been before represented, there is no possible 
way of representing these Scriptures but by suppos- 
ing a Separate Stace of existence for souls after the 
body is dead, which makes it necessary that this ex- 
position should take place. 

Object, XII. How comes death to be called so often 
in Scripture 2i sleeps if the soul wakes all the while? 

A/isw. Why is the repose of man every night call- 
ed sleep, since the soul wakes, as appears by a thou- 
sand dreams? But as a sleeping man ceases to act in 
the businesses or affairs of this world, though the soul 
be not dead or unthinking, so death is called sleep, 
because during that state men are cut oft from the 
businesses of this world, though the soul may think 
and act in another. 

Object, XIII. The Scripture speaks often of the 
ge7ieral judgment of mankind at the last great day of 
the resurrection, but it does not teach us the doctrine 
o{ 2i particular judgment, which the soul is supposed 
to pass under when every single man dies ; why then 
should we invent such a supposition, or believe such 
a doctrine of a particular judgment in a Separate 
State .^ 

Ans'iv, It is evident in many Scriptures, as we have 
shewn before, that the souls of men after death are 
represented as enjoying pleasure or punishment in 


the Separate State. The soul of Lazarus in heaven, 
the soul of Dives in hell, the soul of Paul as being 
* present with the Lord, which is far better,' than 
dwelling in this fiesh, or being present with this bo- 
dy, &c. therefore there must be a sort of judgment 
or sentence of determination past upon every such 
soul by the great God, whether it shall be happy or 
miserable : for it can never be supposed that happi. 
ness or misery should be given to such souls without 
the determination of God the Judge of all: And 
perhaps that text Heb. ix. 27. refers to it, '* it is ap- 
pointed unto men once to die, but after this the judg- 
ment:" i. e. immediately after it. 

Or suppose that in the Separate State the pleasures 
or sorrows, which attend souls departing from the 
body, should be only such as are the necessary con- 
sequents of a life spent in the practice of vice or of 
virtue, of religion or ungodliness, without any form- 
alities of standing before a judgment-seat, or a solemn 
sentence of absolution or condemnation : Yet the 
very entrance upon this state, whether it be of peace 
or of torment, must be supposed to signify, that the 
state of that soul is adjudged or determined by the 
great Governor of the world : And this is all that is 
necessarily meant by a particular judgment of each 
soul at death, whether it pass under the solemn form- 
alities of a judgment and a tribunal or not. 

Object, XIV. If the saints can be happy without a 
body, what need of a resurrection.^ Let the body be 
as refined, as active, as powerful and glorious as it 
can be, still it must certainly be a clog to the soul; 


and this was the objection that the heathen philoso- 
phers made to the doctrine of the reburrection, which 
the Christians profess; for the philosophers told them, 
this resurrection, which they called their highest re- 
ward, was really a punishment. 

Answ, The force of this objection has been quite 
taken away before, when it has been shewn that man, 
being a creature compounded of body and spirit, 
was designed for its highest happiness, and the per- 
fection of its nature in this state of union, and not in 
a state of separation. And let it be observed, that 
when the body shall be raised from the grave, it shall 
not be such flesh and blood as we now wear, nor 
made up of such materials, as shall clog or obstruct 
the soul in any of its most vigorous and divine exer- 
cises; but it shall be a ''spiritual body," 1 Cor. xv. 
44, a body fitted to serve a holy and a glorified spirit 
in its actions and its enjoyments, and to render the 
spirit capable of some further excellencies, both 
of action and enjoyment, than it is naturally capable 
of without a body. What sort of qualities this new- 
raised body shall be endued with, in order to increase 
the excellency or the happiness of pious souls, will 
be, in a great measure, a mystery or a secret, till that 
blessed morning appears. 

Object. XV. Is not our immortality in Scripture 
described as built upon the incorruptible state of our 
new-raised bodies? 1 Cor. xv. 53. " This corrupt- 
ible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must 
put on immortality;" but the doctrine of the immor- 



tality of the soul is not particularly found or taught 
in Scripture. 

Answ. It is granted that the immortality of the 
new raised body is built on that incorruptible sort of 
materials of which it is to be formed, or which shall 
be mingled with it, or the incorruptible qualities 
which shall be given to it by God himself: But the 
soul is immortal in itself, whether with or without a 
body : And he that can read all those texts of Scrip, 
ture which have been before made use of in this es- 
say, wherein the existence of the spirit after the death 
of the body is so plainly expressed, and cannot find 
the ' immortality of the soul' in them, or the * spirit's 
capacity of existence in a Separate State from the 
body,' must be left to his own sentiments to explain 
and verify the expressions of Christ and his Apos- 
tles some other way; or he must acknowledge that 
these expressions are somewhat uncautious and dan- 
gerous, since it is evident they lead thousands and 
ten thousands of wise and sober readers into this sen- 
timent of the soul's immortality. 

Whether the soul in its own nature be necessarily 
immortal, is a point of philosophy, and not to be 
sought for directly in Scripture: But whether the 
great God, the Governor of the world, has not ap- 
pointed souls to exist in a Separate State of happi- 
ness or misery after the bodies are dead, seems to 
me to be so plainly determined in many of the Scrip- 
tures which have been cited, as leaves no sufficient 
reason to doubt of the truth of it. 


To conclude, though I think the doctrine of the 
Separate State of souls to be of much importance in 
Christianity, and that the denial of it carries great 
inconveniencies. and weakens the motive to virtue 
and piety, by putting off all manner of rewards and 
punishments to such a distance as the general resur- 
rection, yet I dare not contend for it as a matter of 
such absolute necessity, that a man cannot be a Chris- 
tian without it. But this must be confessed, that 
they who deny this doctrine seem to have need of 
stronger inward zeal to guard them against tempta- 
tion, and to keep their hearts always alive and watch- 
ful to God and religion, since their motives to strict 
piety and virtue are sensibly weakened, by renounc- 
ing all belief of this nearer and more immediate 
commencement of heaven and hell. 






Rev. X. 5, 6. And the angel which I saw stand up- 
on the sea^ and upon the earthy lifted up his hand to 
hea'uen^ and sware by him that liveth for euer and 
ever, — that there should be time no longer, 

THIS is the oath and the solemn sentence of a 
mighty angel who came down from heaven, and by 
the description of him in the first verse, he seems to 
be the " angel of God's presence, in whom is the 
name of God," even our Lord Jesus Christ himself, 
who pronounced and sware that '* Time should be no 
longer;" for all seasons and times are now put into 
his hand, together with the book of his Father's de- 
crees, Rev. V. 7, 9. What special age or period of 
time in this world the prophecy refers to, may not be 
so easy to determine; but this is certain, that it may 
be happily applied to the period of every man's life; 
for whensoever the term of our continuance in this 
world is finished, * our Time,' in the present circum- 
stances and scenes that attend it, * shall be no more:* 


We shall be swept off the stage of this visible state 
into an unseen and eternal world : Eternity comes 
upon us at once, and all that we enjoy, all that we do, 
and all that we suffer in ' Time, shall be no longer/ 

Let us stand still here, and consider in the^r^^ 
place what awful and important thoughts are contain- 
ed in this sentence, what solemn ideas should arise 
to the view of mortal creatures when it shall be pro- 
nounced concerning each of them, that ' Time shall 
be no more.' 

1. * The Time of the recovery of our nature from 
its sinful and wretched state shall be no longer.' We 
come into this world fallen creatures, children of 
iniquity, and heirs of death ; we have lost the * image 
of God' who made us, and which our nature enjoyed 
in our first parents; and instead of it we are chang- 
ed into the ' image of the devil' in the lusts of the 
mind, in pride and malice, in self-sufficiency and en- 
mity to God ; and we have put on also the ' image of 
the brute' in sinful appetites and sensualities, and in 
the lusts of the flesh; nor can we ever be made truly 
happy till the image of the blessed God be restored 
upon us, till v/e are made holy as he is holy, till we 
have a divine change past upon us, whereby we are 
created anew and reformed in heart and practice. 
And this life is the only time given us for this impor- 
tant change. If this life be finished before the image 
of God be restored to us, this image will never be 
restored ; but we shall bear the likeness of devils for 
ever ; and perhaps the image of the brute too at the 
resurrection of the body, and be further off from God 


and all that is holy than ever we were here upon 

Of what infinite importance is it then to be fre- 
quently awakening ourselves at special seasons and 
periods of life to inquire, whether this image of God 
fe begun to be renewed, whether we have this glori- 
ous change wrought in us, whether our desires and 
delights are fixed upon holy and heavenly things, in- 
stead of those sensual and earthly objects which draw 
away all our souls from God and heaven. Let it ap- 
pear to us as a matter of utmost moment to seek after 
this change; let us pursue it with unwearied labours 
and strivings with our own hearts, and perpetual im- 
portunities at the throne of grace, lest the voice of 
him who swears that, * there shall be Time no longer,' 
should seize us in some unexpected moment, and 
least he swear in his wrath concerning us, *' let him 
that is unholy be unholy still, and let him that is 
filthy be filthy still." 

2. When this sentence is pronounced concerning 
us, 'the season and the means of restoring us to the 
favour and love of God shall be no longer.' We are 
horn ' children of wrath' as well as the sons and 
daughters of iniquity, Ephes. ii. 2. We have lost 
the original favour of our Maker and are banished 
from his love, and the superior blessings of his good- 
liess ; and yet, blessed be the Lord, that we are not 
at present for ever banished beyond all hope : This 
' Time of life' is given us to seek the recovery of the 
love of God, by returning to him according to the gos- 
pel of his Son : Now is pardon and peace, now is grace 


and salvation preached unto men, to sinful wretched 
men, who are at enmity with God and the objects of 
his high displeasure ; now the voice of mercy calls to 
us, " This is the accepted time, this is the day of sal- 
vation," 2 Cor. vi. 2. ** To-day if ye will hear his 
Voice let not your hearts be hardened to refuse it:" 
Now the fountain of the blood of Christ is set open 
to wash our souls from the guilt of sin; now all the 
springs of his mercy are broken up in the ministra- 
tions of the gospel: Now * God is in Christ recon- 
ciling sinners to himself,' and * he has sent us,' his 
ministers, ' to intreatyou in Christ's stead, be ye re- 
conciled to God;' and we beseech you in his name, 
continue not one day, or one hour, longer in your 
enmity and rebellion, but be ye reconciled to God 
your Creator, and accept of his offered forgiveness 
and grace. 2 Cor. v. 20. 

The moment is hastening upon us when this 
mighty angel, who manages the affairs of the king- 
dom of Providence, shall swear concerning every 
unbelieving and impenitent sinner, that the * Time 
of offered mercy shall be no longer, the Time of par- 
don and grace and reconciliation shall be no more :' 
The sound of this mercy reaches not to the regions 
of the dead; those who die before they are recon- 
ciled, they die under the load of all their sins, and 
must perish for ever, without the least hope or 
glimpse of reconciling or forgiving grace. 

3. At the term of this mortal life, * the Time of 
prayer and repentance and service for God or man in 
this world shall be no longer,' Eccl. ix. 10. ** There 


is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, 
in the grave whither thou goest," whither we are all ' 
hastening. Let every sinful creature therefore ask 
himself, * Have I never yet began to pray? Never 
began to call upon the mercy of God that made me? 
Never began to repent of all my crimes and follies? Nor 
begun in good earnest to do service for God, or to 
honour him amongst men ?' Dreadful thought indeed ! 
When it may be the next hour we may be put out of 
all capacity and opportunity to do it for ever! As 
soon as ever an impenitent sinner has the vail of death 
drawn over him, all his opportunities of this kind 
are for ever cut off: He that has never repented, ne- 
ver prayed, never honoured his God, shall never be 
able to pray or repent or do any thing for God or his 
honour through all the ages of his future immortality: 
Nor is there any promise made to returning or re- 
penting sinners in the other world, whither we are 
hastening. *' As the tree falls," when it is cut down, 
** so it lies," and it must for ever lie, * pointing to 
the north or the south,' to hell or heaven, Eccles. 
xi. 3. 

And indeed there is no true prayer, no sincere re- 
pentance can be exercised after this life ; for the soul 
that has wasted away all its time given for repentance 
and.prayer, is, at the moment of death, left under 
everlasting hardness of heart; and whatsoever enmity 
against God and godliness was found in the heart in 
this world is increased in the world to come, when 
all manner of softening means and mercies are ever 
at an end. This leads me to the next thought. 


4. ' How wretched soever our state is at death, the 
day of hope is ended, and it returns no more.' Be 
our circumstances never so bad, yet we are not com- 
pletely wretched while the time of hope remains. 
We are all by nature miserable by reason of sin, but 
it is only despair can perfect our misery. There- 
fore fallen angels are sealed up under misery because 
there is no door of hope opened for theui. But in 
this life there is hope for the worst of sinful men: 
There is the word of grace and hope calling them in 
the gospel; there is the voice of divine mercy sounding 
in the sanctuary, and ' blessed are they that hear the 
joyful sound:' But if we turn the deaf ear to the voice 
of God and his Son, and to all the tender and com- 
passionate intreaties of a dying Saviour, hope is has- 
tening to its period ; for this very angel will shortly 
swear, that this joyful sound shall be heard no longer. 

He comes now to the door of our hearts, he sues 
there for admittance, ' Open unto me and receive 
me as your Saviour and your Lord, give me and my 
gospel free admission, and I will come in and bestow 
upon you the riches of my grace and all my salva- 
tion: Open your hearts to me with the holy desires 
and humble submission of penitence, and receive the 
blessings of righteousness, and pardon, and eternal 
life.' He now invites you to return to God with an 
acknowledgment and renunciation of every sin, and 
he offers to take you by the hand and introduce you 
into his Father's presence v/ith conifort: This is a 
day of hope for the vilest and most hateful criminals; 
but if you continue to refuse, he will shortly swear 


in his wrath, you shall never enter into his kingdom, 
you shall never taste of the provisions of his grace, 
you shall never be partakers of the blessings pur- 
chased with his blood, Heb. iii. 18. ** I sware in my 
wrath," saith the Lord, " they shall not enter into 
my rest." 

Oh the dreadful state of sinful creatures, who con- 
tinue in such obstinacy, who waste away the means 
of grace and the seasons of hope, week after week, 
and month after month, till the day of grace and hope 
is for ever at an end with them! Hopeless creatures! 
Under the power and the plague of sin, under the 
wrath and curse of a God, under the eternal displea- 
sure of. Jesus who was once the minister of his Fa- 
ther's love ; and they must abide under all this 
wretchedness through a long eternity, and in the land 
of everlasting despair. But I forbear that theme at 
present, and proceed. 

5. At the moment of our death 'the Time of our 
preparation for the hour of judgment, and for the in- 
surance of heaven and happiness shall be no longer.' 
Miserable creatures that are summoned to die thus 
unprepared ! This life is the only time to prepare for 
dying, to get ready to stand before the Judge of the 
whole earth, and to secure our title to the heavenly 
blessedness. Let my heart inquire, ' Have I ever 
seriously begun to prepare for a dying hour, and to 
appear before the Judge of all? Have I ever concern- 
ed myself in good earnest to secure an interest in the 
heavenly inheritance, when this earthly tabernacle 
shall be dissolved ? Have 1 ever made interest for the 


flivour of God and a share of the inheritance of the 
saints, by Jesus the great Mediator while he afforded 
life and time?' Death is ^laily and hourly hastening 
upon us: Death is the ' king of terrors,' and will ful- 
fil all his name to every soul that is unprepared. It 
is a piece of wisdom then for every one of us, since 
we must die, to search and feel whether death has 
lost its sting or no : Whether it be taken awa) by 
the blood of Christ ? Is xh\^ blood sprinkled on my 
conscience by the humble exercise of faith on a dying 
Saviour? Are the terrors of death removed, and am 
I prepared to meet it by the sanctifying influences of 
the blessed Spirit ? Have I such an interest in the 
covenant of grace as takes away the sting (jf death, 
as turns the curse into a blessing, and changes the 
dark scenes of death into the commencement of a 
new and everlasting life? This is that- preparation 
for dying for which our time of life was given us; and 
happy are those who are taught of God to make this 

use of it. 


Judgment is making haste towards us ; months and 
days of divine patience are flving swift away, and the 
last great day is just at hand: Then we must give^n 
account of '* all that has been done in the body whe- 
ther it has been good or evil :" And what a dismal and 
distressing surprise will it be to have the Judge come 
upon us in a blaze of glory and terror, while we have 
no good account to give at hiis demand? And yet this 
is the very end and design of all our time, which is 
lengthened out to us on this side the graves and of all 
the advantages that we have enjoyed in this life, 


that we may be ready to render up our account with 
joy to the Judge of all the earth. 

Heaven is not ours by birth and inheritance, as 
lands and houses on earth descend to us from our 
earthly parents. We as well as they are by nature 
unfit for heaven and children of wrath; but we may 
be born again, we may be born of God, and become 
heirs of the heavenly inheritance through Jesus 
Christ: We may be renewed into the temper and 
spirit of heaven; and this life is the only season that 
is given us for this important change : Shall we let 
our days and years pass away one after another in 
long succession, and continue the children of wrath 
still? x'\re we contented to go on this year as the last, 
without a title to heaven, without a divine temper, 
and without any preparation for the business or the 
blessedness of that happy world ? 

6. When this life comes to an end, ' the time of 
all our earthly comforts and amusements shall be no 
more.' We shall have none of these sensible thinsfs 
around us, to employ or entertain our eyes or our 
cars, to gratify our appetites, to sooth our passions, 
or to support our spirits in distress. All the infinite 
variety of cares, labours and joys, which surround us 
here, sliall be no more; life, with all the busy scenes 
and the pleasing satisfactions of it dissolve and perish 
together : Have a care then that you do not make 
any of them your chief hope, for they are but the 
things of time, they are all short and dying enjoy- 


Under the various calamities of this life we find a 
variety of sensible reliefs, and our thoughts and souls 
are called away from their sorrows by present busi- 
ness, or diverted by present pleasures; but all these 
avocations and amusements will forsake us at once, 
when we drop this mortal tabernacle; we must enter 
alone into the world of spirits, and live without them 

Whatsoever agonies or terrors, or huge distresses, 
we may meet with in that unknown region, we shall 
have none of these sensible enjoyments to soften and 
allay them, no drop of sweetness to mix with that 
bitter cup, no scenes of gaiety and merriment to re- 
lieve the gloom of that utter darkness, or to sooth the 
anguish of that eternal heart-ake. O take heed, my 
friends, that your souls do not live too much on any 
of the satisfactions of this life, that your affections be 
not set upon them in too high a degree, that you 
make them not your idols and your chief good, lest 
you be left helpless and miserable under everlasting 
disappointment, for they cannot follow you into the 
world of souls : They are the things of time, and 
they have no place in eternity. Read what caution 
the Apostle Paul gives us in our converse with the 
dearest comforts of life ; 1 Cor. vii. 29. *' The time 
is short;" and let those who have the largest affm- 
ence of temporal blessings, who have the nearest 
and kindest relatives, and the most endeared friend- 
ships, be mortified to them, and be, in some sense, 
* as though they had them not,' for ye cannot possess 
them long. St. Peter joins in the same sort of ad- 


vice, 1 Pet. iv. 7. *' The end of all things is at hand, 
therefore be ye sober," be ye moderate in every en- 
joyment on earth, and prepare to part with them all> 
whefi the angel pronounces that ' Time shall be no 
longer:' His sentence puts an effectual period to 
every joy in this life, and to every hope that is not 

Thus we have taken a brief survey, what are the 
solemn and awful thoughts relating to ' such mortal 
creatures in general,' which are contained in this 
voice or sentence of the angel, ' That Time shall be 
no longer.' 

In the second place let us proceed further, and in- 
quire a little ' what are those terrors which will 
attend sinners, impenitent sinners, at the end of 

1. A dreadful account must be given of all this 
lost and wasted time. When the Judge shall ascend 
his throne in the air, and all the sons and daughters 
of Adam are brought before him, the grand inquiry 
will be,. * What have you done with all the time of 
life in yonder world ? You spent thirty or forty years 
there, or perhaps seventy or eighty, and I gave you 
this time with a thousand opportunities and means 
of grace and salvation; what have you done with 
them all ? How many Sabbaths did I afford you? 
How many sermons have ye heard ? How many sea- 
sons did I give you for prayer and retirement, and 
converse with God and your own souls? Did you 
improve time well? Did you pray? Did you con- 
verse with your souls and with God? Or did you 


suffer time to slide away in a thousand impertinen- 
cies, and neglect the one thing necessary.^* 

2. ' A fruitless and bitter mourning for the waste 
and abuse of time' will be another consequence of 
your folly. Whatsoever satisfaction you may take 
now in passing time away merrily and without think- 
ing, it must not pass away so for ever. If the ap- 
proaches of death do not awaken you, yet judgment 
will do it. Your consciences will be worried with 
terrible reflections on your foolish conduct. 

O could we but hear the complaints of the souls 
in hell, what multitudes of them would be found 
groaning out this dismal note, * How hath my time 
been lost in vanity, and my soul is now lost for ever 
in distress: How might I have shone among the 
saints in heaven, had I wisely improved the time 
which was given me on earth, given me on purpose 
to prepare for death and heaven r' Then they will 
for ever curse themselves, and call themselves eter- 
nal fools, for hearkening to the temptations of flesh 
and sense, which wasted their time, and deprived 
them of eternal treasures. 

3. Another of the terrors which will seize upon 
impenitent sinners at the end of time, will be • end- 
less despair of the recovery of lost time, and of those 
blessings whose hope is for ever lost with it.' There 
are blessings offered to sinful miserable men in time, 
\vhich will never be offered in eternity, nor put with- 
in their reach for ever. The gospel hath no calls, 
no invitations, no encouragements, no promises for 
the dead, who have lost and wasted their time, and 



are perished without hope. The region of sorrow, 
whither the Judge shall drive impenitent sinners, is 
a dark and desolate place, where light and hope can 
never come: But fruitless repentance, with horrors 
and agonies of soul, and doleful despair reign through 
that world, without one gleam of light or hope, or 
one moment of intermission. Then will despairing 
sinners gnaw their tongues for anguish of heart, 
and curse themselves with long execrations, and 
curse their fellow sinners, who assisted them to 
w^aste their time, and ruin their souls. 

4. The last terror I shall mention which will attend 
sinners at the end of time, is an ' eternal suffering of 
all the painful and dismal consequences of lost and 
wasted time. Not one smile from the face of God 
for ever, not one glimpse of love or mercy in his 
countenance, not one word of grace from Jesus 
Christ who was once the chief messenger of the 
grace of God, not one favourable regard from all 
the holy saints and angels; but the lire and brim- 
stone burn without end, '* and the smoke of this their 
torment will ascend for ever and ever before the 
throne of God and the Lamb." 

Who knows how keen and bitter will be the ago- 
nies of an awakened conscience, and the vengeance 
of a provoked God in that world of misery? How 
will you cry out, ' O what a wretch have I been to 
renounce all the advices of a compassionate frither, 
when he would have persuaded me to improve the . 
time of youth and health! Alas, I turned a deaf ear 
to his advice, and now time is lost, and my hopes of 


mercy for ever perished. How have I treated with 
ridicule among my vain companions the compassion- 
ate and pious counsels of my aged parents who la- 
boured for my salvation? Ho\v have •! scorned the 
tender admonitions of a mother, and wasted that 
time in sinning and sensuality which should have 
been spent in prayer and devotion? And God turns 
a deaf ear to my cries now, and is regardless of all 
my groanings.' This sort of anguish of spirit with 
loud and cutting complaints would destroy life itself, 
and these inward terrors would sting their souls to 
death, if there could be any such thing as dying 
there. Such sighs and sobs and bitter agonies would 
break their hearts, and dissolve their being, if the 
heart could break, or the being could be dissolved: 
But immortality is their dreadful portion, immortal- 
ity of sorrows to punish their wicked and wilful abuse 
of time, and that waste of the means of grace they 
were guilty of in their mortaP^tate. 

I proceed in the last place to consider what reflec- 
tions may be made on this discourse, or what are 
some of the profitable lessons to be learnt from it. 

Reflect, I. We may learn with great evidence ' the 
inestimable worth and value of time, and particularly 
to those who are not prepared for eternity.' Every 
hour you live is an hour longer given you to prepare 
for dying, and to save a soul. If you were but ap- 
prized of the worth of your own souls, you would 
better know the worrji of days and hours, and of 
every passing moment, for they are given to secure 
your immortal interest, and save a soul from ever- 



lasting misery. And you would be zealous and im- 
portunate in the prayer of Moses, the man of God, 
upon a meditation of the shortness of life, Psal. xc. 
12. *'So teach us to number our days as to apply 
our hearts to wisdom," i. e. So teach us to consider 
how few and uncertain our days are, that we may be 
truly wise in preparing for the end of them. 

It is a matter of vast importance to be ever ready 
for the end of time, ready to hear this awful sentence 
confirmed with the oath of the glorious angel, that 
* Time shall be no longer.' The terrors or the com- 
forts of a dying bed depend upon it: The solemn and 
decisive voice of judgment depends upon it: The 
joys and the sorrows of a long eternity depend upon 
it: Go now, careless sinner, and in the view of such 
things as these, go and trifle away time as you have 
done before; time, that invaluable treasure : Go and 
venture the loss of your souls, and the hopes of hea- 
ven and your eternal iiappiness, in wasting away the 
remnant hours or moments of life: But remember 
the awful voice of the angel is hastening towards 
you, and the sound is just breaking in upon you, 
that ' Time shall be no longer.' 

Reflect, II. * A due sense of time hastening to its 
period \\ ill furnish us with perpetual new occasions 
of holy meditation. 

Do I observe the declining day and the setting sun 
sinking into darkness : So declines the day of life, 
the hours of labour, and the season of grace : O may, 
I finish my appointed work with honour, before the 
light is fled ! May I improve the shining hours of 


grace before the shadows of the evening overtake 
me, and my time of working is no more ! 

Do I see the moon gliding along through mid- 
night, and fulfilling her stages in the dusky sky ? 
This planet also is measuring out my life, and bring- 
ing the number of my months to their end. May I be 
prepared to take leave of the sun and moon, and bid 
adieu to these visible heavens and all the twinkling 
glories of them ! These are all but the measurers of 
my time, and hasten me on towards eternity. 

Am I walking in a garden and stand still to observe 
the slow motion of the shadow upon a dial there ? 
It passes over the hour lines with an imperceptible 
progress, yet it will touch the last line of day light 
shortly : So my hours and my moments move on- 
ward with a silent pace ; but they will arrive with 
certainty at the last limit, how heedless soever I am 
of their motion, and how thoughtless soever I may 
be of the improvement of time, or of the end of it. 

Does a new year commence, and the first morning 
of it dawn upon me ? Let me remember that the last 
year was finished, and gone over my head, in order 
to make way for the entrance of the present : I have 
one year the less to travel through this world, and to 
fulfil the various services of a travelling state : May 
my diligence in duty be doubled, since the number of 
my appointed years is diminished. 

Do I find a new birth-day in my survey of the ka- 
lendar, the day wherein I entered upon the stage of 
mortality, and was born into this world of sins, frail- 
ties and sorrows, in order to my probation for a btt- 


ter state ? Blessed Lord, how much have I spent al- 
ready of this niortalliie, this season of my prcjbation, 
and how little am I prepared for that happier world ? 
How unready for my dying moment ? I am hasten- 
ing hourly to the end of the life of man which began 
at my nativity ; am I yet born of God ? Have I be- 
gun the life of a saint ? Ami prepared for that awful 
day which shall determine the number of my months 
on earth ? Am I fit to be born into the world of spi- 
rits through the strait gate of death ? Am I renewed 
in all the powers of my nature, and made meet to 
enter into that unseen world, where there shall be no 
more of these revolutions of days and years, but one 
eternal day fills up all the space with divine pleasure, 
or one eternal night with loug and deplorable distress 
and darkness ? 

When I see a friend expiring, or the corps of my 
neighbour conveyed to the grave, alas ! Their months 
and minutes are all determined, and the seasons of 
their trial are finished for ever ; they are gone to their 
eternal home, ap.d the estate of their souls is fixed 
unchangeably : The angel that has sworn their ' time 
shall be no longer,' has concluded their hopes, or 
has finished their fears, and, according to the rules 
of righteous judgment, has decided their misery or 
haj)piness for a long immortality. Take this warn- 
ing, O my soul, and think of thy own removal. 

Are we standing in the church yard, paying the 
last honours to the relicks of our friends ? What a 
number of hillocks of death appear all round us ? 
What are the tomb-stones, but memorials of the in- 


habitants of that town, to inform us of the periods of 
all their lives, and to point out the dav when it was 
said to each of them, ' your time shall be no longer.' 
O may I readily leain this important lesson, that my 
turn is hastening too ; such a little hillock shall short- 
ly arise for me in some unknown spot of ground, it 
shall cover this flesh and these bones of mine in dark- 
ness, and shall hide them from the light of the sun, 
and from the sight of man till the heavens be no 

Perhaps some kind surviving friend may engrave 
my hame with the number of my days, upon a plain 
funeral stone, without ornament and below envy : 
There shall my tomb stand among the rest as a fresh 
monument of the frailty of nature and the end of time. 
It is possible some friendly foot may now and then 
visit the place of my repose, aaid some tender eye 
may bedew the cold memorial with a tear : One or 
another of my old acquaintance may possibly attend 
there to learn the silent lecture of mortality from my 
grave stone, which my lips are now preaching aloud 
to the world: And if love and sorrow should reach 
so far, perhaps while his soul is melting in his eye- 
lids, and his voice scarce finds an utterance, he will 
point w ith his finger, and shew his companion the 
month and the day of my decease. O that solemn, 
that awful day, which shall finish my appointed time 
on earth, and put a full period to ail thexlesigns of my 
heart, and all the labours of my tongue and pen! 

Think, O my soul, that while friends or strangers 
are engaged on that spot, and reading the date of thy 


departure hence, thou wilt be fixed under a decisive 
and unchangeable sentence, rejoicnig in the rewards 
of time well-improved, or sufft-ring die long sorrows 
which shall attend the abuse of it, in an unknown 
world of happiness or misery. 

Reflect. III. We may learn from this discourse, 
the * stupid folly and madness of those who are terri- 
bly afraid of the end of time whensoever they think 
of it, and yet they know not what to do with their 
time as it runs off daily and hourly.' .1 hey find their 
souls unready for death, and yet they live from year 
to year without any further preparation for dying: 
They waste away their hours of leisure in mere tri- 
fling, they lose their seasons of grace, their means 
and opportunities of salvation, in a thoughtless and 
shameful manner, as though they had no business to 
employ them in ; they live as though they had nothing 
to do with all their time but to eat and drink, and be 
easy and merry. From the rising to the setting sun, 
you find them still in pursuit of impertinencies; they 
waste God's sacred time as well as their own, either 
in a lazy, indolent, and careless humour, or in fol- 
lowing after vanity, sin and madness, while the end 
of time is hastening upon them. 

What multitudes are there of the race of Adam, 
both in higher and lower ranks, who are ever com- 
plaining they want leisure; and when they have a 
release from business for one day, or one hour, they 
hardly know what to do with that idle day, nor how 
tp lay out one of the hours of it for any valuable pur- 
pose? Those in higher station and richer circum- 


Stances, have most of their time at their own com- 
mand and disposal : but by their actual disposal of 
it, you plainly see they know not what it is good for, 
nor what use to make of it; ihey are quite at a loss 
how to get rid of this tedious thing called Time, 
which lies daily as a burden on their hands. Indeed 
if their head ake, or their face grow pale, and a phy- 
sician feel their pulse, or look wishfully on their 
countenance; and, especially, if he should shake his 
head, or tell them his fears that they will not hold 
out long, what surprise of soul, what agonies and 
terrors seize them on a sudden for fear of the end of 
time ? For they are conscious how unfit they are for 
eternity: Yet when the pain vanishes and they feel 
health again, they areas much at a loss as ever what 
to do with the remnant of life. 

O the painful and the unhappy ignorance of the 
sons and daughters of men, that are sent hither on a 
trial for eternity, and yet know not how to pass away 
time! they know not how to wear out life, and get 
soon enough to the end of the day: * They doze 
their hours away, or saunter from place to place,' 
without any design or meaning: They enquire of 
every one they meet, what they shall do to kill time^ 
(as the French phrase is,) because they cannot spend 
it fast enough; they are perpetually calling in the 
assistance of others to laugh, or sport, or trifle with 
them, and to help them oiF with this dead weight of 
time, while, at the same moment, if you do but men- 
tion the end of time, they are dreadfully afraid of 
coming near it. What folly and distraction is this? 


What sottish inconsistency is found in the heart and 
practice of sniful men, Eccles. ix. 3. *' The heart of 
the sons of men, is full of evil, madness is in their 
heart while they live, and after that they go down to 
the dead." 

O that these loiterers would once consider that 
time loiters not; days and hours, months and years, 
loiter not; each of them flies away with swiftest wing, 
as fast as succession admits of, and bears them on- 
ward, to the goal of eternity. If they delay and lin- 
ger among toys and shadows, time knows no delay; 
and they will one day learn by bitter experience what 
substantial, important, and eternal blessings they 
have lost by their criminal and shameful waste of 
time. The Apostle Peter assures them, 2 Pet. ii. 
3. Though they slumber and sleep in a lethargy of 
sin, so that you cannot awaken them, yet ' their judg- 
ment lin!2:ereth not, and their damnation slumbereth 
not.' The awful moment is hasting upon them 
which shall teach them terribly the true value of 
time: Then they would give all the golden pleasures, 
and the riches and the grandeur of this world, to 
purchase one short day more, or one hour of time, 
wherein they might repent and return to God, and 
get within the reach of hope and salvation : But time 
and salvation and hope are all vanished, and fled, 
and gone out of their reach for ever. 

Reflect. IV. Learn from such mediations as these, 
< the rich mercy of God, and the grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, in e:iving us so long a warning, before 
he swears thai time shall be no more.'' Every stroke 


of sickness is a warning-piece that life is coming to 
its period : every death amongst our friends and ac- 
quaintance, is another tender and painful admonition 
that our death also is at hand : The end of every 
week and every dawning Sabbath is another warning; 
every sermon we hear of the ' shortness of time,' and 
the ' uncertainty of life,' is a fresh intimation that 
the great angel will shortly pronounce a period upon 
all our time. How inexcusable shall we be if we 
turn the deaf ear to all these warnings? St. Peter 
advises us to *' count the long-suffering of the Lord 
for salvation." 2 Pet. iii. 15. and to secure our eter- 
nal safety, and our escape from hell, during the season 
of his lengthened grace. 

Alas! How long has Jesus, and his mercy, and 
his gospel, waited on you, before you began to think 
of the things of your everlasting peace? And if yoa 
are now solemnly awakened, yet how long has he 
waited on you with fresh admonitions, and with spe- 
cial providences, with mercies and judgments, with 
promises and invitations of grace, with threatenings 
and words of terror, and with the whispers and ad- 
vices of his own Spirit, since you began to see your 
danger ? And after all, have you yet sincerely re- 
pented of sin? Have you yet received the offered 
grace ? Have you given up yourselves to the Lord 
and laid hold of his salvation? 2 Cor. vi. 2. *'This 
is the accepted time, this is the day of salvation ; To- 
day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts.'' 
Heb. iii. 7, 8, &c. It is never said through all the 
Bible, that ' to-morrow is the day of grace;' or * to- 



morrow is the time of acceptance:' It is the present 
hour only that is offered. Every day and every hour 
is a mercy of unknown importance to sinful men : It 
is a mercy, O sinners, that you awaked not this 
morning in hell, and that you were not fixed without 
remedy beyond the reach of hope and mercy. 

Reflect, V. Learn from this discourse what * a very 
useful practice it would be to set ourselves often be- 
fore hand as at the end of time,' to imagine ourselves 
just under the sound of the voice of this mighty an- 
gel, or at the tribunal of Christ, and to call our souls 
to a solemn account in what manner we have past 
away all our leisure time hitherto: I mean, all that 
time which hath not been laid out in the necessities 
of the natural life for its support and its needful re- 
freshment, or in the due and proper employments of 
the civil life : Both these are allowed and required 
by the God of nature and the God of providence W'ho 
governs the world: But what hast thou done O man; 
O woman, what hast thou done with all the hours 
of leisure which might have been laid out on far bet- 
ter employments, and to far nobler purposes? Give 
me leave to enter into particulars a little, for generals 
do but seldom convince the mind, or awaken the 
conscience, or affect the heart. 

1. Have you not ' slumbered or squandered' away 
too much time ' without any useful purpose or de- 
sign' at all ? How many are there, that when they 
have morning hours on their hands, can pass them 
off on their beds, and lose and forget time in ' a little 
more sleep and a little more slumber;' a few imper- 


tinencies with breakfast and dressing wear out the 
morning without God. And how many afternoon 
and evening hours are worn away in such sauntering 
idleness as I have described, that when the night 
comes they cannot review one half hour's useful 
work, from the dawn of morning to the hour of rest. 
Time is gone and vanished, aud as they knew not 
what to do with it while it was present, so now it is 
past, they know not what they have done with it : 
They keep no account of it, and are never prepared 
to come to a reckoning: But will the great Judge of 
all take this for answer to such a solemn inquiry ? 

2. Have you never laid out much more time than 
was needful in * recreations and pleasures of sense ?' 
Recreations are not unlawful, so far as they are ne- 
cessary and proper to relieve the fatigue of the spirits, 
when they are tired v/ith business or labour, and to 
prepare for new labours and new businesses; but 
have we not followed sports without measure and 
without due limitation ? Hath not some of that very 
time been spent in them which should have been laid 
out in preparing for death and eternity, and in seek- 
ing things of far higher importance? 

3. Have you not wasted too much time in yowrfre- 
qiient clubs^ and what you call good company, and in 
* places of public resort.' Hath not the tavern, or the 
coifee-house, or the ale-house, seen and known you 
from hour to hour for a whole evening, and that 
sometimes before the trade or labours of the day 
should have been ended ? And when your Bible and 
your closet, or the devotion of your family, have 


sometimes called upon your conscience, have you 
not turned the deaf ear to them all ? 

4. Have not ' useless and impertinent visits' been 
made to no good purpose, or been prolonged beyond 
all necessity or improvement? When your conver- 
sation runs low even to the dregs, and both you and 
your friends have been at a loss what to say next, 
and knew not how to fill up the time, yet the visit 
must go on, and time must be wasted. Sometimes 
the wind and the weather, and twenty insignifican- 
cies, or (v\hat is much worse) scandal of persons or 
families, have come in to your relief, that there might 
not be too long a silence; but not one word of God 
or goodness could find room to enter in and relieve 
the dull hour. Is none of this time ever to be ae- 
counted for ? And will it sound well in the ears of 
of the ?reat Judge, ' We ran to these sorry topics, 
these slanderous and backbiting stories, because we 
could not tell what to talk of, and we knew not how 
to spend our time.' 

5. Have you not been guilty of ' frequent and even 
perpetual delays or neglects of your proper necessary 
business in the civil life, or in the solemn duties of 
religion, by busying yourselves in some other need» 
less thing under this pretence, it is time enough yetP 

Have you learnt that important and eternal rule of 
prudence, * never delay till to-morrow what may be 
done to-dny; never put off till the next hour what 
may be done in this?' Have you not often experi- 
enced your own disappointment and folly by these 
delays? And yet have you ever so repented as tp 


learn to mend them ? Solomon tells us, Eccles. iii. 
1. *' There is a time for every purpose, and every 
work, under the sun :" A proper and agreeable time 
for every lav\ful work of nature and life ; and it is the 
business and care of a wise man to ' do proper work 
in proper time ;' but when we have let slip the pro- 
per season, how often have we been utterly disap- 
pointed? Have we not sustained great inconvenien- 
cies ? And sometimes it hath so happened that we 
could never do that work or business at all, because 
another proper season for it hath never offered ? Time 
hath been no more. Felix put off his discourse with 
Paul about the " faith of Christ, and righteousness, 
and judgment to come, to a more convenient time," 
which probably never came, Acts xxiv. 25. And 
the word of God teaches us, that if we neglect our 
salvation in the present day of grace, the angel in my 
text is ready to swear, that ' Time shall be no 

Here permit me to put in a short word to those who 
have lost much time already. 

O my friends, begin now to do what in you lies to 
regain it, by double diligence in the matters of your 
salvation, lest the * voice of the arch- angel' should 
finish your time of trial, and call you to judgment 
before you are prepared; 

What time lies before you for this double improve- 
ment God only knows: The remnant of the mea- 
sure of your days are with him, and every evening 
the number is diminished : Let not the rising sun 
ppbraid you with continued negligence. Remem- 


ber your former abuses of hours, and months, and 
years, in folly and sin, or at best in vanity and tri- 
fling : Let these thoughts of your past conduct lie 
with such an effectual weight on your hearts, as to 
keep you ever vigorous in present duty. Since you 
have been so lazy and loitering in your Christian 
race in time past, take larger steps daily, and stretch 
all the powers of your souls to hasten towards the 
crown and the prize. Hearken to the voice of God in 
his word, with stronger attention and zeal to profit: 
Pray to a long-suffering God with double fervency; 
cry aloud and give him no rest till your sinful soul is 
changed into penitence, and renewed to holiness, till 
you have some good evidences of your sincere love 
to God, and unfeigned faith in his son Jesus. Ne- 
ver be satisfied till you are come to a well-grounded 
hope through grace, that God is your friend, your 
reconciled Father; that when days and months are 
no more, you may enter into the region of everlast^ 
ing light and peace. 

But I proceed to the last general remark. * Learn 
the unspeakable happiness of those who have im- 
proved time well, and who wait for the end of time 
with Christian hope.' They are not afraid, or at 
least they need not be afraid of the sentence, nor the 
oath of this mighty angel, when he lifts up his hand 
to heaven, and swears with a loud voice, * There shall 
be time no more.' 

G blessed creatures, who have so happily improv- 
ed the time of life and day of grace, as to obtain the/ 
restoration of the image of God, in some degree, on' 


their souls, and to recover the favour of God through 
the gospel of Christ, for which end time was bestow- 
ed upon them: They have reviewed their follies with 
shame in the land of hope ; they have mourned and 
repented of sin ere the season of repentance was past, 
and are become new creatures, and their lips and 
their lives declare the divine change. They have 
made preparation for death, for which purpose life 
and time were given. Happy souls indeed, who 
have so valued time as not to let it run oiFin trifles, 
but have obtained treasures more valuable than that 
time which is gone, even the riches of the covenant 
of grace, and the hopes of an eternal inheritance in 

Happy such souls indeed when time is no more 
with them ! Their happiness begins when the dura- 
tion of their mortal life is finished. Let us survey 
this their happiness in a few particulars. 

The time of their ' darknesses and difficulties' is no 
longer: The time of painful ignorance and error is 
come to an end : You shall wander no more in mis- 
take and folly : You shall behold all things in the 
light of God, and see him face to face, who is the 
original beauty and the eternal truth. You shall see 
him without vails and shadows, without the reflecting 
glass of his word and ordinances, which at best give 
us but a faint glimpse of him, either in his nature or 
wisdom, his power or goodness. You shall see him 
in himself and in his son Jesus, the brightest and 
fairest image of the Father, and ' shall know him as 
you are known/ 1 Cor. xiii. 10, 12, 


There is no more time for * temptation and dan- 
ger:' when once you are got beyond the limits of 
this visible world, and all the enticing objects of flesh 
and sense, there shall be no more hazard of your saU 
vation, no more doubtinti; and distressing fears about 
your interest in your Father's love, or in the salva- 
tion of his beloved Son, 

There is no more time nor place for * sin to inhabit 
in you:' The lease of its habitation in your mortal 
body must endy when the body itself falls into the 
dust : you shall feel no more of its powerful and de» 
filing operarions either in heart or life for ever. 

The time of ' conflict with your spiritual adversa- 
ries is no longer.' There is no more warfare betwixt 
the flesh and spirit, no more combat with the world 
and the devil, who, by a thousand ways have attempt- 
ed to deceive you, and to bear you off* from your 
heavenly hope. Your warfare is accomplished, your 
victory is complete, you are made overcomers 
through him that has ioved you. Death is the last 
enemy to be overcome ; the sting of it is already- 
taken away, and you have now finished the conquest, 
and are assured of the crown, 1 Cor. xv, 56, 57. 

The time of your ^distar.ce and absence from 
God is no more:* The time of coldness and indiffer- 
ence, and the fearful danger of backslidings, is no 
more: You shall be made as 'pillars in the temple 
of your God, and shall go no more out:' He shall 
love you like a God, and kindle the flames of your 
love to so intense a deg»-ee, as is only known to angels 
and ^o the spirits of the just made perfect. 


There is no more time for you to be vexed with 
the ' society of sinful creatures :' Your spirit within 
you shall be no more ruffled and disquieted with the 
teazing conversation of the wicked, nor shall you be 
interrupted in your holy and heavenly exercises by 
any of the enemies of God and his grace. 

The time of your * painful labours and sufferings 
is no more.' Rev. xiv. 13. "Blessed are the dead 
that die in the Lord, for they rest from all their la- 
bours" that carry toil or fatigue with them : ' There 
shall be no more' complaints nor groans, ' no sorrow 
or crying ;' the springs of grief are for ever dried up, 
' neither shall there be any more pain' in the flesh or 
the spirit. *^ God shall wipe away all tears from 
your eyes, and death shall be no more." Rev. xxi. 

" It is finished," said our blessed Lord on the 
cross : ' It is finished,' may every one of his followers 
say at the hour of death, and at the end of time : 
My sins and follies, my distresses and my sufferings, 
are finished for ever, and the mighty angel swears to 
it, that the time of those evils is no longer : They are 
vanished, and shall never return. O happy souls, who 
have been so wise to count the short and uncertain 
number of your days on earth, as to make an early pro- 
vision for a removal to heaven. Blest are you above 
all the powers of present thought and language. 
Days, and months, and years, and all these short and 
painful periods of time, shall be swallowed up in a 
long and blissful eternity ; the stream of time which 
has run between the banks of this mortal life, and 


bore you along amidst many dangerous rocks of 
temptation, fear and sorrow, shall launch you out 
into the ocean of pleasures which have no period: 
Those felicities must be everlasting, for duration has 
nolimii there, Time^ with all its measures, shall be 
no more* Amen, 





Daughter of the late Sir Thomas Abney, Knt. &c. 
Preached April 2, 1732. 

Dedicated to the Lady Abney, Mother of the deceas- 
ed^ and to Mrs. Mary and Mrs. Elizabeth 
Abney, her tivo sur'vhing Sisters, 


IF sorrows could be diminished in proportion to 
the multitude of those who share in them, the spring 
of your tears would have been drawn almost dry, 
and the tide of grief have sunk low, by being divid- 
ed into a thousand streams. But though this cannot 
afford perfect relief to your Ladyship, yet it must be 
some consolation to have been blessed vvith a daugh- 
ter, whose removal from our world could give occa- 
sion for so general a mourning. 

I confess, Madam, the wound which was made by 
such a smarting stroke is not to be healed in a day 
or two, reason permits some risings of the softer and 
kinder passions in such a season; it shews at least 
that our hearts are not marble, and reveals the tender 


ingredients that are moulded up in our frame ; nor 
does religion permit us to be insensible when a God 
afflicts, though he doth it with the hand of a father 
and a friend. Nature and love are full of these sen- 
sibilities, and incline you to miss her presence in 
every place where she was wont to attend you, and 
where you rejoiced in her as one of your dearest 
blessings. She is taken away indeed from mortal 
sight, and to follow her remains to the grave, and 
to dwell there, gives but a dark and melancholy view, 
till the great rising-day. Faith may ken the distant 
prospect, and exult in the sight of that glorious futu- 
rity ; yet I think there is also a nearer relief, Madam, 
to your sorrows. By the virtues which shone in her 
life, you may trace the ascent of her spirit to the 
world of immortality and joy. Could your Ladyship 
keep the eye of your soul directed thither, you would 
find it an effectual balm for a heart that bleeds at the 
painful remembrance of her death. What could 
your Ladyship have asked as a higher favour of hea- 
ven, than to have born and trained up a child for that 
glorious inheritance, and to have her secured of the 
possession beyonc^ all possible fear or danger of los- 
ing it. 

This, Madam, is your own divinest hope for your- 
self, and you are hastening on toward that blessed so- 
ciety as fast as days and hours give leave. When your 
thoughts descend to this lower world again, there are 
two living comforts near you of the same kind with 
what you have lost: May your Ladyship rejoice in 
them yet many years, and they in you! And when 
Jesus, who hath the keys of death and the invisible 


state, shall appoint the hour for your ascent to hea- 
ven, may you leave them behind to bless the world 
with fair examples of virtue and piety among men, 
and a long train of services for the interest of their 

If I were to say any thing, Young Ladies, to you in 
particular, it should be in the language of our Savi- 
our, and his beloved Apostle, "■ Hold fast what you 
have till the Lord comes, that none may deprive you 
of your crown. Take heed to yourselves, that you 
lose not the things which you have wrought, but that 
ye receive a full reward." Go on and persevere as 
you have begun, in the path of true religion and hap- 
piness : And in this age of infidelity and degenerate 
life, be ye daily more established in the Christian faith 
and practice, in opposition to the smiles and frowns, 
and every snare of a vain delusive world. Let this 
one thought set a double guard upon you, that while 
your elder sister was with you, it was something 
easier to resist every temptation, when she had pro- 
nounced the first refusal : Her steadiness was a guard 
which you have now lost, but you have an Almighty 
God in covenant on your side, and the '' grace of our 
Lord Jesus is sufficient for you," 

Tb his care, My Lady, I commend yourself, and 
your whole family, with affectionate petitions : And 


Tour Ladyship'^ s most obliged 

and fait hf id Servant^ 


London, April 28, 1732. 



— ^\^ M^ mm 


IT is an awful providence which hath lately re- 
moved from among us a young person well known to 
most of you, whose agreeable temper and conduct 
had gained the esteem of all her acquaintance, whose 
constitution of body, together with the furniture of 
her mind, and circumstances in the world, concur- 
red to promise many future years of life and useful- 
ness. But all that is born of the race of man is frail 
and mortal, and all that is done by the hand of God 
is wise and holy. We mourn, and we submit in si- 
lence. Yet the providence hath a voice in it, and 
the friends of the deceased are very solicitous that 
such an unexpected and instructive appearance of 
death, might be religiously improved to the benefit 
of the living. For this end I am desired to entertain 
you at present with some meditations on those words 
of our Saviour, which you read in 

Luke xii. 37. 

Blessed are these seri}ants, 'uohom the Lord^ ijohen he 
Cometh, shall find ivatching, 

VARIOUS and well chosen are those parables 
whereby our Saviour gave warning to his disciples, 


that when he was departed from this world they 
should ever be upon their guard, and always in a rea- 
diness to receive him at his return : Because he 
would come on a sudden, and '' in such an hour as 
they thought not," to demand an account of their be- 
haviour, and to distribute his recompences according 
to their works. There are two of these parables in 
this chapter : But to enter into a detail of all the par- 
ticular metaphors which relate to this one, whence I 
have borrowed my text, would be too tedious here, 
and would spend too much of the present hour. 
Without any longer preface therefore, I shall apply 
myself to improve the words to our spiritual profit 
in the following method. 

I. I shall enquire what is meant by the ' coming of 
Christ' in the text, and how it may be properly 
applied to our present purpose, or the ' hour of 

II. I shall consider what is implied in the watcbful' 
7iess which our Saviour recommends. 

III. I propose some considerations w^hich will dis- 
cover the ' blessedness of the watchful soul' in a 
dying hour. 

IV. I shall add some practical remarks. 

Firsts Let us enquire what is meant by the ' com- 
ing of Christ' in my text. 

The * coming of Christ,' in some of these parables, 
may have reference to his speedy appearance in the 
course of his providence in that very age, to judge 


and punish the Jewish nation, to destroy their city, 
and put an end to their church and state, for their 
many heinous iniquities, and the most provoking 
crime of rejecting and crucifying the Son of God. 
But these words, in their supreme and most impor- 
tant sense, always point to the * glorious appearance 
of Christ at the last day,' when he shall come to shut 
up all the scenes of this frail life, to put an end to the 
present world, to finish all the works of this mortal 
state, and to decide and determine the eternal states 
of all mankind by the general judgment. 

Yet * Christ comes' to each of us in ' the hour of 
death' also, for ' he hath the keys of death and of 
hell,' or of the invisible world, Rev. i. 18. It is he 
who appoints the very moment when the soul shall 
be dismissed from this flesh, he opens the doors of 
the grave for the dying body ; and he is Lord of the 
world of spirits, and lets in new inhabitants every 
minute into those unseen regions of immortal sor- 
row, or immortal peace. 

And as Christ may be said to * come to us' by the 
message or 'summons of death,' so the many solemn 
writings and commands o^ watchfulness^ which attend 
these parables of Christ, have been usually, and with 
good reason, applied to the * hour of death' also, for 
then the Lord comes ' to shut up the scene of each 
of our lives ^ our * works are then finished,' our * last 
day is come,' and the ' world is then at an end' with 

Let it be observed also, that there is a further pa- 
rallel between the day of the « general judgment,' and 


that of * our own death:' The one will as certainly 
come as the other, but the time when Christ will 
come in either of these senses, is unknown to us and. 
uncertain: And it is this, which renders the duty of 
perpetual watchfulness so necessary to all men. The 
parable assures us, ihatour Lord will certainly come, 
but whether at the * second or third watch,' whether 
at 'midnight, or at cock-crowing, or near ihe morn- 
ing,' this is all uncertainty ; yet whensoever he comes, 
he expects we should 'have our loius girded,' like 
servants fit for business, 'and our lamps burning*,' 
to attend him at the door, and that we ' be ready to 
receive him as soon as he knocks.' 

Were the appointed hourof judgment, or of death, 
made known to us for months or years before-hand, 
we should be ready to think constant watchfulness, a 
very needless thing. Mankind would persuade them- 
selves to indulge their foolish and sinful slumbers, 
and only take care to rub their eyes a little, and be- 
stir themselves an hour or two before this awful 
event: But it is the suddenness and uncertainty of 
the coming of Christ to all mankind, for either of 
these purposes, that extends the charge of watchful- 
ness to all men as well as to the Apostles, Mark xiii. 
37. and that calls upon us aloud to keep our souls 
ever awake, ' lest (as our Lord there expresses it,) 
coming suddenly he should find us sleeping.' And 
remember this, that if we are unprepared to meet the 
Lord at death, we can never be ready when he comes 
to judgment ; peace and blessedness attend the watch- 
ful Christian, whensoever his Lord cometh. ** Bless- 



ed is that servant, whom, when his Lord comes, he 
shall find watching." This leads me to the second 
general head. 

Secondly^ What is implied in %\) at cbf illness ? 

Atis'iD. In general, it is opposed to sleeping^ as I 
have already hinted, in Mark xiii. '^S^ 36. And in 
the language of Scripture, as well as in common 
speech, sleep and slumbering^ denote an unprepared- 
ness to receive whatever comes, for this is the case 
with those who are asleep : On the other hand, ivatch- 
fulness is a preparation and readiness for every event, 
and so it is expressed in some of these parables, ver. 
40. "Be ye therefore ready." But to enter into a 
few particulars. 

1. There is a '* sleep of death," Psal. xiii. 3. Spi- 
ritual death as well as natural, is sometimes called a 
sleep. Such is the case of a soul '' dead in trespasses 
and sins," Eph. v. 14. compared with ii. 1. " Awake 
thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ 
shall give thee light." 

Watchfulness therefore implies Ufe, a principle of 
spiritual life in the soul: Surely those who are dead 
in sins are not prepared to receive their Lord : He is 
a perfect stranger to them, they know him not, they 
love him not, they obey him not; and a terrible 
stranger he will be, if he comes upon them before 
they are awake. But those who are awakened by 
divine grace into a spiritual life, have seen something 
of " the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 
they are acquainted with their Lord, they love him, 
and have some degree of preparation to meet their 


Saviour when he summons them to leave this world. 
This is therefore a matter of highest consequence, 
that wc awake from a state of sin and death, that we 
be made alive to God, begin the Christian life, and 
set upon religion in good earnest, according to the 
rules of the gospel, before Christ call us away. It 
is only this divine life begun in us, that can secure 
us from eternal death; though even Christians may 
be found slumbering in other respects, and expose 
themselves to painful evils, if that hour surprise them 
at unawares. 

2. There is * a sleep of indolence and thoughtless- 
ness:' When a man is insensible of his own circum- 
stances, and too careless of the things which most 
concern him, we say, 'the man is asleep.' Such a 
sleep seems to be upon the church of Israel, Isa. 
xxix. 10. '* a spirit of deep sleep," when the law 
which contained the great things of God, and their sal- 
vation, was to them * as a sealed book,' they read it 
not, their eyes were closed, their spiritual senses 
were bound up. Many a Christian who hath been 
raised from a death in sin, has been seized with this 
criminal slumber, and has had the image of death 
come again upon him: He has grown too careless 
and unconcerned about his most important and eter- 
nal affairs; and in this temper he hardly knows what 
his state is toward God, nor keeps up a lively sense 
or notice of divine and eternal things upon his spirit. 

Watchfulness in opposition to this sleeps implies a 
holy solicitude and diligence, to knovi^ our own spi- 
ritual state; a consciousness of what we are; a keep- 


ing all the spiritual senses in proper exercise, and 
maintaining a lively perception of divine things. It 
implies an acute, painful sense of indwelling sin, and 
the irregular propensities of the heart, a delightful 
relish of heavenly objects, frequent thoughts of death 
and eternity, constant waiting for those awful events, 
with a quick apprehension and resentment of all 
things, thai help or hinder the spiritual life. This 
is the character of a wakeful Christian, and such an 
one as is ready to receive his returning Lord. 

3. There is a ' sleep of security and foolish peace,' 
when a person is not apprehensive of imminent dan- 
ger, and is much unguarded against it. Such was 
the sleep of Jonah in the storm, of Sampson on the 
lap of Delilah, when the Philistines were upon him, 
and of the disciples when Judas and the band of sol- 
diers were just ready to seize their Master. This is 
the case of many a slumbering Christian ; he is not 
upon his guard against his inward lusts and passi- 
ons, nor against those outward temptations and pe- 
rils to which he is continually exposed, while he 
dwells in flesh and blood. 

Watchfulness in this respect is, when a Christian 
hath his eyes open, and turns them round on every 
side to foresee approaching evil, and prevent it ; 
when he is prepared for every assault of every adver- 
sary, whether sin or the world, whether death or the 
devil; he hath his spiritual armour girt upon him, 
and is ready for the combat. He is every hour guard- 
ed against the powers of the flesh, and watching 
against its allurements and attractions, lest he be de^ 


filed thereby, and unfit to meet his returning Lord : 
He is daily loosennii^ his heart from all sensual at- 
tachments, and weaning himself from the world and 
creatures, because he knows he must quickly take his 
long farewel, and part with them all, at the call and 
appointment of his great Master. He is like a centi- 
nel upon his watch-tower, ever awake, because dan- 
gers stand thick around Mm. 

4. There is a * sleep of sloth and inactivity,' Prov. 
xix. 15. '' Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep." ^A 
little more sleep, a little more slumber,' saith the la- 
zy Christian, who 'turns upon his bed, as the door 
upon its hino-es,' and makes no progress or advance 
in his way to heaven. We are sleepy Christians when 
^^e do little for God, or our own souls, in compari- 
son of the vast work, and important varieties of duty 
that lie upon us : When our zeal is cold, and our 
efforts of service sVii^ht and feeble : When the light 
of grace shines so dim, and the spark of holiness is so 
covered with ashes, that it is hard to say, w^hether it 
burn or no. As in natural things, so in spiritual> it 
is a difficult matter sometimes to distinguish between 
a dead man, and a lethargic sleeper. 

If ^atchf Illness in opposition to this slumber, is a 
lively and vigorous exercise of every grace, and a di- 
ligent attendance on every duty, both toward God 
and man, a constant converse with heaven by daily 
devotion, an active zeal for God in the world, a steady 
faith in the promises, a joyful hope of heavenly bless- 
edness, a longing expectation of the returning Savi- 
piir, which makes the soul stretch out the v/ings of 


desire and joy, as though it were going forth to meet 
him. This is the meaning of the Apostle Peter's 
expression, 2 Pet. iii. 12, " Looking for, and hasten- 
ing to the coming of the day of God." 

Put all these things together now, and they make 
up the character of a 'watchful Christian:' He is 
awake from the sleep of death, and made spiritually 
alive ; he hath the work of vital religion begun in his 

He is awake from the sleep of ' thoughtlessness 
and indolence ; he is solicitous to know his own 
state, and hath good hope through grace ; he lives in 
the view of heavenly things, and keeps his eye open 
to future and eternal glories. 

He is awake from the sleep of security^ he is upon 
his guard against every danger, and ready to receive 
every alarm. 

He is awake from the sleep of slotbf illness ^ and is 
active in the pursuit of the glory of his God, and his 
own eternal interest, and still * pressing toward the 
mark to obtain the prize.' This is the soul that is 
ready to meet a returning Saviour, and to receive his 
Lord when he comes, either at the hour of death, or 
to the general judgment. 

Thirdly, Let me propose some special considera- 
tions which discover * the blessedness of the watch- 
ful Christian at the hour of death. 

1. Consid. That moment dispossesses us of every 
enjoyment of flesh and blood, and divides us from the 
conmierce of this visible workl ; but ' the wakeful 
Christian is happy, for he is ready to be thus divided 


and dispossessed.' Death breaks the band at once 
between us, and all the sensible things round about 
us, by dissolving the frame of this body, which had 
united us to them ; and the watchful saint is content 
to have that bond broken, these unions dissolved. 
His heart and soul are not torn away, from the dear 
delights of this mortal state with that pain, anguish 
and horror, that attends the sinner when death sum- 
mons him off the stage, and divides him from his 
fleshly idols. The Christian hath been untying his 
heart by degrees from the dearest delights of sense, 
and disengaging it from all that is not immor- 
tal : With holy pleasure he can bid farewel to sun, 
moon, and stars, and to all things which their light 
can shew him, for he is going to a world where the 
Sun of righteousness ever shines in unclouded glory, 
and discovers such sights, as are infinitely superior 
to all that the eyes of flesh can behold ; he can part 
with friends rnd kindred with a composed spirit, 
for he is going to meet better friends and diviner kin- 
dred, as we shall shew immediately : He can leave 
his dying flesh behind him, and commit it to the 
dust, in pyful hope of the great rising-day, and he 
hath a better mansion at present provided for him on 
high in his Father's house, while he lives far separate 
from all earthly dwellings, 2 Cor. v. 1. '' We know 
that if this earthly house of our tabernacle be dissol- 
ved, we have a building of God not made with hands 
eternal in the heavens." 

2. Consid, The moment of death finishes our state 
of trial, and fixes us unchangeably in the state of siu 


or holiness, in which we are then found ; and ' bles- 
sed is the watchful Christian, for he is prepared to 
have his trial thus ended, and his state thus fixed and 
made unchangeable.' '' As the tree falls, so it lies.'* 
Eccles. xi. 10. *' whether to the north, or the south :" 
As the soul parts from the body, so it remains, whe- 
ther fitted for heaven or hell. It is therefore a mat- 
ter of the last importance to be prepared and ready 
for such an eternal sentence, and unchangeable deter- 
mination. Were any of us to be surprised some 
moment this day, and forced to continue all our lives, 
in that very posture of body, in which we are then 
found, should we not be awake, and keep ourselves 
in the most natural and easy gestures all that day, 
lest we be seized at once, and fixed in some distort- 
ed, painful, and uneasy situation, all our months and 
years to come? Or if we were to be bound down to one 
single thought, or passion, all the remnant of our life, 
in which we were found in any uncertain minute in 
this hour, should we not watch with utmost care, and 
guard against every unpleasing thought, and every 
fretful and vexing passion, lest it should be fixed up- 
on us till we die ? 

Now this is the case at death : The Almighty 
voice of God then pronounces, '' he that is unclean 
and unholy must for ever be unholy and unclean, but 
he that is righteous let him be righteous still, and he 
that is holy shal' be for ever holy." Rev. xxii. 11. 
I will not precisely determine that this is the sense 
of that text, yet since the Apostle speaks there con- 
cerning the coming of Christ, it may be very appii- 


cable to the present case. Now, how dreadful so- 
ever this thought is to a guilty sinful creature, it is 
no terror to a wakeful Christian : He is ready to 
have these words pronounced from heaven, for they 
will establish him in eternal holiness and eternal 
peace : He hath endeavoured to secure to himself an 
interest in the love of God, through the faith and love 
of Jesus the blessed Mediator, and at death he is fix- 
ed for ever in their lovel He hath loved God in time, 
and in this visible world, and there is nothing in all 
the unseen worlds, nothing through all the ages of 
eternity, shall ever separate him from the love of God 
in Christ Jesus. The moment of death hath fixed 
him for ever a holy and beloved soul, beyond the 
power of creatures to change his temper, or his 
state. This is the blessedness of the watchful Chris- 

3. Consid, Death sets us in a more immediate and 
sensible manner in the presence of God, a glorious 
and holy God, God die Judge of all ; and ' blessed 
is the watchful Christian, for he is willing to stand 
before this God, to be brought into his presence:' 
This is what he hath longed and prayed for, to be for 
ever with God. It is the blessedness that he hath 
sought with incessant labours and tears, with holy 
diligence, and daily devotion, and blessed is the 
*' pure in heart," who hath watched against the pollu- 
tions of the world, ''for he shall see God," Matth. 
V. 8. 

It is certain, that when the soul departs from the 
body, *«it returns to God who gave it," Eccles. xii. 



7. And probably to God as a Judge too, Heb. ix. 
27. *' After death judgment.'' There is some sort 
of determination of the state of each single person at 
deadi, before the great and general judgment-day, 
because that day is appointed rather for the public 
vindication of the equity of God in his distribution 
of rewards and punishments, and is particularly put 
into the hands of our Lord Jesus : Now, since the 
separate soul returns to God who gave it, it is of vast 
importance that we be then prepared to come before 

Some of us here would be mightily afraid of ap- 
pearing before a prince, or a great and honourable 
person in an undress ; but for our souls in a naked 
state, or in a garment of sinful pollution, to be sur- 
prised by the great and holy God, to be set on a sud- 
den in his presence, what terror is contained in this 
thoudit ! Now the 'watchful Christian hath this 
blessedness^' that he is washed from his defilements 
in the blood of the Lamb, "he is clothed with the 
robe of righteousness, and the garments of salva- 
tion," Lsa. Ixi. 10. He is prepared to appear be- 
fore a God of infinite holiness without terror, for he 
is made like him, he bears his image, he appears 
as one of his children, and he is not afraid to see his 

However some commentators may confine and im- 
poverish the sense of David in the end of the seven- 
teenth Psalm, yet I am persuaded the Spirit of God 
in him designed to express his faith and joy, either 
at the hour of death, or in the morning of the resur- 


rection, *' I shall behold thy face in righteousness, I 
shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness :'* 
AVhen the Psalmist had described what were the sa- 
tisfactions of the men of this world in death, ver. 14. 
viz. that they had filled their houses with children, 
and leave their substance or riches to them, he then 
declares, what was his support and hope in his dy- 
ing hour, As for mc, saith he, I have other views: 
I am not afraid, O my God, to appear before thee 
in the other world, for I shall see thy face, not as a 
criminal, but as a person approved and accepted, and 
righteous in thy sight : I shall awake from this world 
of dreams and shadows into thy complete image and 
perfect holiness ; or, I shall awake from the dust of 
death, and shall be fully satisfied ; and rejoice to find 
myself made so like my God, and to dwell for ever 
in his presence. 

4. Consid. It is the Lord Jesus Christ that lets the 
soul out of the body, for he * hath the keys of death, 
and of the unseen world,' and * blessed is the watch- 
ful Christian, who waits for the coming of his Lord, 
for he can meet him gladly, when fulfilling this part 
of his glorious ofiice.' He shall be introduced by 
him into the presence of God his Father, and shall 
receive most condescending instances of mercy from 
Christ himself. See the text, Luke xii. 06^ 37. 
** Be ye yourselves like men that wait for the Lord, 
that when he cometh and knocketh, ye may open to 
him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom 
the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching : 
Verily I say to you, he shall gird himself, and make 


them sit down to meat, and come forth and serve 
them." He shall condescend, as it were, even below 
the office of a steward, he shall bring out the heaven- 
ly provisions of his Father's house, and make them 
sit down in his kingdom, and give them divine re- 
freshments after their labours ; he shall < feed them* 
as a shepherd, shall Mead them to living fountains 
of waters,' and afford them his presence for ever. 

The watchful Christian is blessed indeed, when 
he shall be ' absent from the body, and be at once 
present with the Lord,' 2 Cor. v. 8. The Lord Je- 
sus whom he hath seen by faith in his gospel, whose 
voice he hath heard in his word, and obeyed it ; Je- 
sus, whom he hath touched and tasted in the appoint- 
ed emblems of his supper on earth, in whom he hath 
believed through the word of grace, and whom he 
haih loved before he saw him, shall now receive him 
iiito his presence, and the disciple shall rejoice for 
ever lo meet his Lord, with joy unspeakable and full 
of glory. 

5. Consicl. At the hour of death we are sent ?X 
once into an invisible world ; we shall find ourselves 
in the midst of holy or of unclean spirits ; borne away 
at once into an unknown region, and into the midst 
of unknown inhabitants, the nations of the saved, or 
the crouds of damned souls ; * and blessed is the 
watchful Christian, for he is ready to enter into the 
unseen regions:' He knows he shall not be placed 
among those whose company and whose character 
he never loved here on earth ; * his soul shall not be 
gathered with sinners,' nor his dwelling be ' with the 


workers of iniquity,' but with the < saints, the excel- 
lent in the earth, in whom was all his delight,' 
Every one when dismissed from the prison of this 
body, must go as the Apostles did, when released 
from the prison at Jerusalem, ' must go to their own 
company,' Acts iv. 23. Judas the traitor ' went to 
his own place,' Acts i. 25. And the watchful Chris- 
tian will be disposed among ' spirits of the just made 
perfect,' he will find himself in that blessed society, 
at his dismission from flesh and blood. Read and 
see what a glorious society it is, Heb. xii. 22, 23, 
" To the innumerable company of angels, the gene- 
ral assembly and church of the first-born, who are 
written in heaven, to God the Judge of all, and to 
the spirits of just men made ptrfect, and Jesus the 
Mediator of the new covenant." The Apostle says, 
^ we are come to them' already, that is, by the cove- 
nant of grace, as administered under the gospel ; we 
are brought into a blessed union with them, in spi- 
rit, and in temper, even in this life ; we are members 
of the same body, we are united to the same head, 
and made parts of the same household, though we 
are not yet brought home : But at death we are ac- 
tually present with them, and dwell and converse 
among them with holy familiarity, as citizens of the 
same heavenly Jerusalem, as parts of the same sacred 
family, and at home, as children of the same God, 
and in their Father's house. The watchful Christian 
is at once carried into the midst of the blessed world 
by ministering angels, the world where Abraham, 


Isaac, andJacob dwell, and made a speedy partaker 
of their blessedness, Luke xvi. 22. 

6. Consid, Death brings with it a most amazing 
and inconceivable change of all our present circum- 
stances and thoughts, our actions and pursuits, our 
sensations and enjoyments ; I mean all those that re- 
late to this life only, such as eating, drinking, buy- 
ing, selling, Sec. it dislodges us from these bodies, 
and thereby finishes all those affections, concerns and 
troubles, which belong to the body, and sends us 
into another sort of w^orld, whose affairs and con- 
cerns are such only, as belong to spirits, whether 
sinful or holy : A most delightful, or a most dread- 
ful change ! A world of unknown sorrows, or un- 
known happiness ! Luke xxiii. 43. *' This day shalt 
thou be with me in paradise." Luke xvi. 22. '' The 
rich man died, and in hell he lift up his eyes." And 
indeed the change is so vast, that, comparatively 
speaking, \wq know not what sorrow, or happiness 
is, till this day comes. Now it is a very foolish and 
dangerous thing at best, to pass into such an ex- 
treme change of states, infinitely worse, or infinitely 
better, while we are asleep and at all uncertainties ; 
What if it should be the miserable state, and we 
should awake in hell ? But 'the watchful Christian is 
blessed, for he is ready for this amazing change.' 
He hath long lived upon it by faith and hope, though 
he knows not so well what the particular enjoyments 
of heaven are ; and he is well satisfied that he is pre- 
pared for that happy world by God himself. 2 Cor. 
v. 5. *' He that hath wTousrht us for the self-samb 


thing is God :" He is well pleased to have his faith 
changed into sight, and his hope intofruition: He hath 
been long pained and burdened in this sinful world, 
with the vain trifles, the poor low cares and amuse- 
ments of it ; the sins and sorrows and temptations 
that surround him in it, give him continual disquie- 
tudes, and he hath been training up in the school of 
Christ, by devotion and good works for those high- 
er services of heaven. Since he can trust the pro- 
mises of the gospel, and has had some small fore- 
taste of these pleasures, he knows that the actions 
and employments, the businesses and joys of the up- 
per world, are incomparably super-ior to any thing 
here on earth, and free from all the uneasy and defi- 
ling circumstances of this life. He is awake to re- 
ceive this change: He rejoices in his removal from 
world to world : His vital and active powers are rea- 
dy for the business of paradise, and he opens his 
heart to take in the joy. 

7. Consid. Death makes its approaches oftentimes, 
and seizes us in such a manner as to give no room 
for prayers or repentance, then * the blessedness of 
the watchful soul appears, that if he is carried out of 
the world and time in such a surprising way, he is 
safe for eternity.' 

Sometimes the messenger of death stops all our 
thoughts and actions at once by a lethargic stroke, 
or confounds them all, by the delirious rovings of a 
fever ; the light of reason is eclipsed and darkened, 
the powers of the mind are all obstructed, or the lan- 
guishings of nature have so enfeebled them, that ei- 


ther we cannot exercise them to any spiritual pur- 
poses, or we are forbid to do it, for fear of counter- 
working the physician, increasing the malady, and 
hastening our death. Thus we are not capable of 
making any new preparation, for the important work 
of dying; we can make use of none of the means of 
grace, nor do any thing more to secure an interest in 
the love of God, the salvation of Christ, and the 
blessings of heaven. 

This is a very dismal thought indeed. But the 
watchful Christian hath this blessedness, that he is 
fit to receive the sentence of death in any form; nor 
lethargies, nor deliriums, nor languors of nature, can' 
destroy the seed of grace and religion in the heart, 
which were sown there in the days of health; nor can 
anv of the formidable attendants of death, cancel his 
former transactions with God and Christ, about his 
immortal concerns. That great and momentous 
work was done before death appeared, or any of its 
attendants. He was not so unwise, as to leave mat- 
ters of infinite importance at that dreadful hazard: 
He is not now to begin to seek after a lost God, nor 
to begin his repentance for past sins : He is not now 
a stranger at the throne of grace, nor beginning to 
learn to pray: He is not now commencing his ac- 
quaintance with Jesus Christ his Saviour, in the 
midst of a tumult and hurry of thoughts and fears, 
nor are the works of faith, and love, and holiness, to 
be now begun. Dreadful work indeed, and infinitely 
hazardous! To begin to be convinced of sin on the 
bordersof death, and to make our first enquiries af- 


ter God and heaven, upon the very brhik of hell ! 
To begin to ask for pardon, when we can live in sin 
no longer; to cry out, Jesus^ save me^ when the waves 
of the wrath of God, are breaking in upon the drown- 
ing soul ! Hopeless condition and extreme wretched- 
ness! To have all the hard work of conversion to go 
through, under the sinkings of feeble nature, and to 
begin the exercises of virtue and godliness, under 
the wild disorders of reason ! What a madness is it, 
to leave our infinite concerns at such a horrible un- 
certainty ! 

But these are not thy circumstances, oh wakeful 
Christian : Nor was this the case of our young de- 
parted friend, though her distemper soon discom-^ 
posed her reasoning powers, and gave her very little 
opportunity to make a present preparation for dying. 
But she had heard the voice of Christ in his gospel 
betimes, and awoke to righteousness at his call, that 
she might be always ready for his summons in death. 
Religion v/as her early care, a fear to offend God, 
possessed and governed her thoughts and actions 
from her childhood, and heavenly things were her 
youthful choice. She had appeared for some years, 
in the public profession of Christianity, and maintain- 
ed the practice of godliness in the church, and the 
world ; but it began much more early in secret. Her 
beloved closet, and her retiring hours, were silent 
witnesses of her daily converse with God, and her 
Saviour: There she devoted her soul to her Creator' 
betimes, according to the encouragements a«d rules 
of the gospel of Christ, and there f^he found peace 



and salvation. It was there she made a conscientious 
recollection of the sermons she heard in public, from 
her tender years, and left behind her these fruits of 
her memory, and her pen to attest, what improve- 
ments she gained in knowledge, by the ministrations 
of the word ; and her cabinet has now discovered to 
us, another set of memoirs, wherein she continually 
observed what advances she might make in real piety 
by diose weekly seasons of grace. 

It was under these influences she maintained a 
most dutiful and affectionate behaviour to her honour- 
ed parents, and with filial fondness mingled with 
esteem, submission and reverence, paid her constant 
regards to the lady her mother, in her widowed es- 
tate. It was by the united principles of grace and 
nature, she lived with her younger sisters in uncom- 
mon harmony and friendship, as though one heart 
and soul animated them all. It was under these in- 
fluences she ever stood upon her guard, amongst all 
the innocent freedoms of life, and though she did not 
immure herself, in the walls of a mother's house, but 
indulged a just curiosity to learn some of the forms 
of the world, the magnificence of courts, and the 
grandeurs of life, yet she knew how far to appear 
among them, and when to retire. Nor did she for- 
bid herself all the polite diversions of youth, agree- 
able to her rank ; nor did reason or religion, or her 
superior relatives forbid her ; yet she was still awake 
to secure all that belongs to honour and. virtue, nor 
did she use to venture to the utmost bounds, of what 


sobriety and religion might allow. Danger of guilt 
stands near the extreme limits of innocence. 

Shall I let this paper inform the world, with what 
friendly decency, she treated her young companions 
and acquaintance, how far from indulging the modish 
liberties of scandal on the absent, how much she 
hated those scornful and derisive airs, which persons 
on higher ground, too often assume toward those 
who are seated in the inferior ranks of life ? Is it pro- 
per I should say, how much her behaviour won upon 
the esteem of all that knew her, though I could appeal 
to the general sorrow at her death, to confirm the 
truth of it? But who can forbear on this occasion, to 
take notice, how far she acquired that lovely character 
in her narrow and private sphere, which seems almost 
to have been derived to her by inheritance, from her 
honoured father, deceased, who had the tears of his 
country long dropping upon his tomb, and whose 
memory yet lives in a thousand hearts ? 

Such a conversation, and such a character, made 
up of piety and virtue, were prepared for the attacks 
of a fever, with malignant and mortal symptoms. 
Slow and unsuspected were the advances of the dis- 
ease, till the powers of reason began to falter and 
retire, till the heralds of death had made their appear- 
ance, and spread on her bosom, their purple ensigns. 
When these disorders began, her lucid intervals were 
longer, and while she thought no person was near, 
she could address herself to God, and say, how often 
she had given herself to him ; she hoped she had 
done it sincerely, and found acceptance with him, 


and trusted that she was not deceived. The gleams 
of reason that broke in between the clouds, gave her 
light enough to discern her own evidences of piety, 
and refresh her hope. Then she repeated some of the 
last verses of the 139th Psalm in metre, viz. 

" Lord, search my soul, try every thought: 
Tho' my own heart accuse me not, 
Of walking in a false disguise, 
I beg the trial of thine eyes. 

Doth secret mischief lurk within? 
Do I indulge some unknown sin! 
O turn my feet whene'er I stray. 
And lead me in thy perfect way." 

She was frequent and importunate in her requests for 
the Psalm-book, that she mi^ht read that Psalm, or 
at icast have it read to her throughout; and it was 
with some difficulty, we persuaded her to be compos- 
ed in silence; thus sincerely willing was she, that 
God might search and try her heart, still hoping v/ell 
concerning her spiritual state, yet still solicitous about 
the assurance of her own sincerity, in her former 
transactions with heaven. 

The next day among the roving of her thoughts, 
she rehearsed all those verses of the 17th Psalm, 
which are paraphrased in the same book, with very 
little faltering in a line or two: 

" Lord 1 am thine ; but thou wilt prove 
My faith, my patience, and my love," Sec. 

The traces of her thoughts under this confusion of 
animal nature, retained something in them divine and 


O blessed situation of soul, when we stand pre- 
pared for death, though it come with the formidable 
retinue of a disordered brain, and clouded reason ! It 
would be too long at present to represent to you the 
* sad consequences of being found asleep when Christ 
comes to call us away from this world,' I shall there- 
fore only make these three reflections. 

Reflect. 1. * None can begin too early to awake to 
righteousness, and prepare for the call of Christ, since 
no one is too young to be sent for by his messenger 
of death.' I do not here speak of the state of infancy, 
when persons can hardly be said to be in a personal 
state of trial: But when I say, ' none can awake too 
early to mind the things of religion,' I mean, after 
reason begins its proper exercise, and this appears 
sometimes in early childhood. All our life in this 
world, compared with heaven, is a sort of night and 
season of darkness; and if our Lord summon us. away 
«* in the first watch of the night," in the midst of 
youth and vigour, and the pleasing allurements of 
flesh and sense, w^e are in a deplorable state if we are 
found sleeping, and hurried away from earth, into 
the invisible world, in tlie midst of cur foolish dreams 
of golden vanity. Dreadful indeed, to have a young- 
thoughtless creature carried off* the stage, sleeping 
and dead in trespasses and sins ! Let those that are 
drunk with w^ine fiill asleep upon the top of a mast in 
the middle of the sea, where the vvinds and the waves 
are tossing and roaring all around them; let a mad- 
man who has lost -his reason, lie down to sleep upon 
the edge of a precipice, where a pit of fire and brim- 


slone is burning beneath him, and ready to receive 
his fall; but let not young sinners, whose rational 
powers are in exercise, and whose life is every mo- 
ment a mere uncertainty, venture to go on in their 
dangerous slumbers, while the wrath of a God and 
eternal misery attend them, if they die before they are 

It is granted that no power beneath that which Ts 
divine, can eiTectually quicken a dead soul, and 
givvaken it into a divine life. It is the work of *' God 
to quicken the dead," Rom. iv. 17. Eph. ii. 5. It is 
the son of God who is the '* light and life of the 
world," John i. 4. To whom " the Father hath 
given this quickening power," John vi. 26. He 
calls sinners to awaken them from their deadly sleep, 
Eph. V. 14. And '' they live by hini, as he lives 
by the Father," John vi. 57. He awakens dead 
souls to life, by the same Ihing spirit y which '* shall 
quicken their mortal bodies," and raise them from 
the grave, Rom. viii. 9, 11, 13. 2 Cor. iii. 3. 
which spirit he '' hath received from the Father," 
John iii. 34. And on this account we are to seek 
the vital influences of this grace from heaven, by con- 
stant and importunate prayer. Yet in my text, as 
Avel) as in other Scriptures, ** awaking out of sleep," 
and '* watching unto rightcoubncss," is represented 
as our duty, and we are to exert all our natural pow- 
ers with holy fervency, for this end, v\hile our daily 
petitions draw down from heaven the promised aid of 
grace-^ Our diligence in duty, and our dependence 
on the divine pow^r and mercy^are happily and efteo- 


tually joined in the command of our Saviour, on this 
very ocoision, in one of his parables, Mark xiii. 33. 
*' Watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is 
that the Lord will come." And again, chap. xiv. 
38. " Watch and pray that ye enter not into tempta- 
tion." Trust not in your own strength and suffici- 
ency for the glorious change to be wrought in your 
sinful hearts, and yet neglect not your own labours 
and restless endeavours under a pretence, that it is 
God's work, and not yours. *' Awake thou that 
sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall 
give thee light." 

Nor should frail dying creatures in their youngest 
years, delay this work, one day, nor one hour, since 
the consequences of beijig found asleep when Christ 
calls, are terrible indeed. We are beset with mor- 
tality all around us; the seeds of disease and disso- 
lution are working within us from our very birth and 
cradle, ever since sin entered into our natures; and 
we should ever be in a readiness to remove hence, 
since we are never secure from the summons of hea- 
ven, the stroke of death, and the demands of the 

There was a lovely boy, the son of the Shunamite, 
who was given to his mother in a miraculous way, 
and when he was in the field among the reapers, he 
cried out, ?ny bead, my bead ; he was carried hom.e 
immediately, and in a few hours died in his mother's 
bosom, 2 Kings iv. 18. Who would have imagined 
tiiathead-ach should have been death, and that in so 
short a. time too? This is ahnost the case which v.e 


lament at present ; the head-ach was sent but a few 
days before, nor was the pain very intense, nor the 
appearance dangerous, yet it became the fatal, though 
unexpected fore-runner of death. 

This providence is an awful warning-piece to all 
her young acquaintance, to be ready for a sudden 
removal; for she was of a healthy make, and seemed 
to stand at as great distance from the gates of death 
as any of you : But the firmest constitution of human 
nature is born whh death in it. From every age, and 
every spc t of ground, and every moment of time^ 
there are short and sudden ways of descent to the 
grave. Trap-doors (if I may use so low a metaphor) 
are ahvavs under us, and a thousand unseen avenues 
to the regions of the dead. A malignant fever strikes 
the strongest nature vv iih a mortal blast, at the com- 
mand of the great Author and Disposer of life. My 
youngest hearers may be called away from the earth, 
by tlie next pain that seizes them. Nothing but 
religion, early religion, and sincere godliness, can 
give you hope in youthful death, or leave a fragrant 
savor on your name or memory among those that 

Reflect. 2. If such blessedness as I have described, 
belong to every watchful Christian at the hour of 
death, tlicn it may not be improper here to take no- 
tice of ' some p.eculiar advantages which attend those 
who shake olF the deadly sleep of sin in their younger 
years, and are awake early to God and religion.' 

(1.) They have much fe er bins to mourn over ou 
a death- bed, and thgy prevent much bitter repent^ 


ance for youthful iniquities. Holy Job was a man 
of distinguished piety, and God himself pronounces of 
him that '* there was none like him in all the earth," 
Job i. 28. But it is a question whether his most 
early days were devoted to God, and whether he 
was so watchful over his behaviour, in that dangerous 
season of life, for he makes a heavy complaint in his 
addresses to God, Job xiii. 26. *' Thou writest 
bitter things against me, and makest me to possess 
the iniquities of my youth." The sooner we begin 
to be awake to holiness, the more of these follies and 
sorrows are prevented : Happy those who have the 
fewest of them, to imbitter their following lives, or 
make a death-bed painful! 

(2.) Young persons have fewer attachments to the 
■world, and the persons and things of it, which are 
round about them, and are more ready to part with 
it when their souls are united to God by an early faith 
and love. They have not yet entered into so nume- 
rous engagements of life, nor dwelt long enough here 
to have their hearts grown so fast on to creatures, 
which usually makes the parting stroke so full of an- 
guish and smarting sorrow. A child can much more 
easily ascend to heaven, and leave a parent behind, 
without that tender and painful solicitude, which a 
dying parent has for the welfare of a surviving child. 
The surrender of all mortal interests at the call of 
God, is much more easy when our souls are not tied 
to them by so many strings, nor united by so many 
of the softer endearments of nature, and where grace 
h?,s taught us to practise an early weaning from all 



temporal comforts, and a little loosened our hearts 
from them, by the faith of things eternal. 

(3.) Those that have been awake betimes to godli- 
ness, give peculiar honours to the gospel at death, and 
leave this testimony to the divine religion of Jesus, 
that it was able to subdue passion and appetite in that 
season of life, when they are usually strongest and 
most unruly. They give peculiar credit and glory 
to the Christian name and the gospel, which has 
gained them so many victories over the enemies of 
their salvation, at that age wherein multitudes arc 
the captives of sin, and slaves to folly and vanity. 

(4.) Those Christians who are awake to God in 
their early years, leave more happy and powerful ex- 
amples of living and dying, to their young compan- 
ions and acquaintance. It is the temper of every 
age of life, to be more influenced and affected by the 
practice of persons of the same years. Sin has fewer 
excuses to make, in order to shield itself from the 
reproof of such examples, who have renounced it be- 
times ; and virtue carries with it a more eftectual 
motive to persuade young sinners to piety and good- 
ness, when it can point to its votaries of the same 
age, and in the same circumstances of life. * Why 
may not this be practised by you, as well as by your 
companions round about you, of the same age?' 
But I must hasten to the last reflection. 

Reflect. 3. * When we mourn the death of friends 
who were prepared for an early summons, let their 
preparation be our support.' Blessed be God they 
were not found sleeping! While we drop our tears 


upon the grave of any young Christian who was 
awake and alive to God, that blessedness which Christ 
himself pronounces upon them, is a sweet cordial to 
mingle with our bitter sorrows, and will greatly as- 
sist to dry up the spring of them. The idea of their 
piety, and their approbation in the sight of God, is 
a balm to heal the wound, and give present ease to 
the heart-ach. 

We are ready to run over their virtues, and spread 
abroad their amiable qualities in our thoughts, and 
then, with seeming reason, we give a loose to the 
mournful passion ; whereas all these, when set in a 
true light, are real ingredients tow^ards our relief. 

We lament the loss of our departed friend, when 
we review that capacious and uncommon power of 
memory, which the God of nature had given her, and 
which was so well furnished with a variety of human 
and divine knowledge and was stored with a rich 
treasure of the word of God, so that if Providence had 
called her into a more public appearance, she might 
have stood up in the world as a burning and shining 
light, so far as her sex and station required. This 
furniture of the mind seems indeed to be lost in death, 
and buried in the grave; but we give in too much to 
the judgment of sense; did not this extensive know- 
ledge lay a foundation for her early piety? And did 
it not, by this means, prepare her for a more speedy 
removal to a higher school of improvement, and a 
world of sublimer devotion ? And does she not shine 
there among the better and brighter company? 


We mourn again for our loss of a person so valu- 
able, when we think of that general calmness and se- 
dateness of soul, which she possessed in a peculiar 
degree, so that she was not greatly elevated or de- 
pressed, by common accidents or occurrences; but 
this secured her from the rise of unruly passions, 
those stormy powers of nature, which sometimes sink 
us into guilt and distress, and make us unwilling and 
afraid of the sudden summons of Christ, lest he 
should find us under these disorders. 

We think of her firmness of spirit, and that steady 
resolution, which, joined with a natural reserve, was 
a happy guard against many of the forward follies and 
dangers of youth, and proved a successful defence 
against some of the allurements and temptations of 
the gayer years of life: And then we mourn afresh 
that a person so well formed for growing prudence 
and virtue, should be so suddenly snatched away 
from amongst us. But this steady and dispassion- 
ate frame of soul, well improved by religion and divine 
grace, became an eifectual means to preserve her 
youth more unblemished, and made her spirit fitter 
for the heavenly world, where nothing can enter that 
is defiled, and whose delights are not tumultuous as 
ours are on earth ; but all is a calm and rational 
state of joy. 

We lament yet further when w^e think of her na- 
tive goodness and unv^^illingness to displease: But 
goodness is the very temper of that region to which 
she is gone, and she is the fitter companion for the 
inhabitants of a world of love. 


We lament that such a pattern of early piety should 
be taken from the earth, when there are so few prac- 
tisers of it, especially among the youth of our degen- 
erate age, and in plentiful circumstances of life. But 
it is a matter of high thankfulness to God, who en- 
dowed her with those valuable qualities, and trained 
her up so soon for a world so much better than ours 
is. Let our sorrow for the deceased, be changed into 
devout praises to divine grace. Let us imitate the 
holy language of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, and 
say, * we are comforted' even at her grave, ' in all our 
affliction and distress, by the' remembrance of * her 
faith' and piety. * What' sufficient ^thanks can we ren- 
der unto God, upon her account, for all the joy 
wherewith we rejoice for' her * sake before our God, 
night and day, praying exceedingly that we may see 
her face' in the state of perfection ? And * may God 
himself, even our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 
direct our way,' to the happy world, where she 
dwells, 1 Thess. iii. 7, &c. The imitation of what 
was excellent in her life, and watchful readiness to 
follow her in death, are the best honours we can pay 
her memory, and % the wisest improvements of the 
present providence. May the spirit of grace teach 
us these lessons, and make us all learn them with 
power, that when our Lord Jesus shall come to call 
us hence by death, or shall appear with all his saints, 
in the great rising-day, we may be found among his 
wakeful servants, and partake of the promised bless- 
edness I Amefi, 


Mark xiii. 36. 

Watch ye therefor e^ lest coming suddenly^ he find you 


AMONG the parables of our Saviour, there are 
several recorded hy the Evangelists, which represent 
him as a Prince, or Lord and Master of a family, de- 
parting for a season from his servants, and in his 
absence, appointing them their proper work, with a 
solemn charge to wait for his return ; at which time 
he foretold them, that he should require an account 
of their behaviour in his absence, and he either inti- 
mates or expresses a severe treatment of those, who 
should neglect their duty while he was gone, or make 
no preparation for his appearance. He informs them 
also that he should come upon them on a sudden, 
and for this reason charges them to be always awake 
and upon their guard, ver. 35. " Watch ye there- 
fore, for ye know not when the Master of the house 
Cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, oratcock- 
crowiiip^, or in the morning," 

Though the ultimate design of these parables, and 
tjie ' coming of Christ' mentioned therein, refer to 


the great day of judgment, when he shall return from 
heaven, shall raise the dead, and call mankind to ap- 
pear before his judgment-seat, to receive a recom- 
pense according to their works; yet both the duties 
and the warnings, which are represented in these pa- 
rables, seem to be very accommodable to the hour of 
our death; for then our Lord Jesus, who 'has the 
keys of death and' the grave, and ' the unseen world,' 
comes to finish our state of trial, and to put a period 
to all our works on earth : He comes then to call 
us into the invisible state; he disposes our bodies to 
the dust, and our souls are sent into other mansions, 
and taste some degrees of appointed happiness or 
misery, according to their behaviour here. The 
solemn and awful warning which my text gives us 
concerning the return of Christ to judgment, may be 
therefore pertinently applied to the season when he 
shall send his messenger of death, to fetch us hence: 
'' Watch ye therefore, lest coming suddenly, he find 
you sleeping." 

When I had occasion to treat on a subject near akin 
to this,^ I shewed that there was a distinction to be 
made, between the ' dead sleep of a sinner,' and 
* slumber of an unw^atchful Christian.' Those who 
never had the work of religion begun in their hearts 
or lives, are sleeping the sleep of death ; whereas 
some who are made alive by the grace of Christ yet 
may indulge sinful drowsiness, and grow careless and 

* In a funeral Sermon for Mrs. Sarah Abney, on Luke xii. 37. " Bles-;- 
ed are those servants, whom the Lord, when he con;£th, shall find watch- 


secure, slothful and unactive. *^ The wise virgins 
as well as the foolish, were slumbering and sleep- 
ing," Matt. XXV. 5. The mischiefs and sorrows 
which attend each of these, when Christ shall sum- 
mon them to judgment, or shall call them away from 
earth, by natural death, are great and formidable, 
though they are not equally dangerous : Let us con- 
sider each of them in succession, in order to rouse 
dead sinners from their lethargy, and to keep drowsy 
Christians awake. 

First, Let us survey the sad consequences which 
attend those that are * asleep in sin and spiritually 
dead,' when the hour of natural death approaches: 
They are such as these, 

I. ' If they happen to be awakened on the borders 
of the grave, into what a horrible confusion and dis- 
tress of soul are they plunged ?' What keen anguish 
of conscience for their past iniquities seizes upon 
them ? What bitter remorse and self-reproaches, for 
the seasons of grace which they have wasted, for the 
proposals of mercy which they have abused and re- 
jected, and for the divine salvation which seems now 
to be lost for ever, and put almost beyond the reach 
of possibility and hope. They feel the messenger of 
death, laying his cold hands upon them, and they 
shudder and tremble, with the expectation of ap- 
proaching misery. They look up to heaven and they 
see a God of holiness there, as a consuming fire rea- 
dy to devour them, as stubble fit for the flame : They 
look to the Son of God, w^ho has the keys of death 
in his hand, and who calls them away from the lanfl 


of the living, even to Jesus the compassionate Medi- 
ator, but they can scarce persuade themselves to ex- 
pect any thing from him, because they have turned 
a deaf ear so long to the invitations of his gospel, and 
so long affronted his divine compassion. They look 
behind them, and with painful agonies are frighted 
at the mountains of their former guilt, ready to over- 
whelm them : They look forward, and see the pit of 
hell opening upon them, with all its torments; long 
darkness without a glimpse of light, and eternal des- 
pair with no glimmerings of hope. 

Or if now and then amidst their horrors, they 
would try to form some faint hope of mercy, how are 
their spirits perplexed with prevailing and distracting 
fears, with keen and cutting reflections? ' Oh that 
I had improved my former seasons for reading, for 
praying, for meditating on divine things! But I can- 
not read, I can hardly meditate, and scarce know 
how to pray. Will the ear of God ever hearken to 
the cries and groans of a rebel that has so long re- 
sisted his grace ? Are there any pardons to be had 
for a criminal, who never left his sins till vengeance 
Was in view ? Will the blood of Christ ever be ap- 
plied to wash a soul, that has wallowed in his defile- 
ments, till death roused him out of them? Will the 
meanest favour of heaven, be indulged to a wretch 
who has grown bold in sin, in opposition to so loud 
and repeated warnings? I am awake indeed, but I can 
see nothing round me but distresses and discourage- 
ments, and my soul sinks within me, and my heart 
dies at the thoughts of appearing before God.* 


It is a wise, and just observation among Chris- 
tians, though it is a very common one,. that the Scrip- 
tures give us one instance of a penitent saved in his 
dying hour, and that is the ' thief upon the^cross,' 
that so none might utterly despair ; but there is but 
one such instance given, that none might presume. 
The work of repentance is too difficult, and too im- 
portant a thing, to be left to the languors of a dying 
bed, and the tumults and flutterings of thought, which 
attend such a late conviction. There can be hardly 
any effectual proofs given of the sincerity of such re- 
pentings : And I am verily persuaded there are few^ 
of them sincere ; for we have often found these vio- 
lent emotions of conscience vanish again, if the sin- 
ner has happened to recover his health : They seem 
to be merely the wild perplexities and struggles of 
nature, averse to misery, rather than averse to sin : 
Their renouncing their former lusts, on the very bor- 
ders of hell and destruction, is more like the vehe-' 
ment and irregular efforts of a drowning creature, 
constrained to let go a most beloved object, and tak- 
ing eager hold of any plank for safety, rather than 
the calm and reasonable, and voluntary designs of a 
mariner, who forsakes his earthly joys, ventures him-, 
self in a ship that is offered him, and sets sail for the 
heavenly country. I never will pronounce such ef- 
forts and endeavours desperate, lest I limit the grace 
of God which is unbounded ; but I can give very 
little encouragement for hope to an hour or two, of 
this vehement and tumultuous penitence, on the very 
brink of damnation. * Judas repented,' but his ago- 


nies of soul hurried him to hasten his own death, 
*' that he might go to his own place:" And there is 
abundance of such kind of repenting, in every corner 
of hell; that is a deep and dreadful pit, whence there 
is no redemption, though there are millions of such 
sorts of penitents; it is a strong and dark prison, 
where no beam of comfort ever shines, where bitter 
anguish and mourning for sins past, is no evangelical 
repentance, but everlasting and hopeless sorrow. 

II. * Those that are found sleeping at the hour of 
death, are carried away at once, from all their sensual 
pursuits and enjoyments, which were their chosen 
portion, and their highest happiness.' At once they 
lose all their golden dreams, and their chief good is, 
as it were snatched away from them at once and for 
ever. ' They stand on slippery places, they are 
brought to destruction in a moment,' and all their 
former joys * are like a dream when one awaketh,' 
and finds himself beset round with terrors. 

Are there any of you that are pleasing yourselves 
here in the days of youth and vanity, and indulge 
your dreams of pleasure, in the sleep of spiritual 
death, think of the approaching moment, when the 
death of nature shall dissolve your sleep, and scatter 
all the delusive images of sinful joy. This separa- 
tion from the body of flesh, is a fearful shock given 
to the soul, that makes it awake indeed. Sermon^ 
would not do it ; the voice of the preacher was not 
loud enough ; strokes of alHiction, and smarting pro- 
vidences would not do it ; perhaps the soul might be 
roused a little, but dropt into profound sleep again : 


sudden or surprising deadis near them, and even the 
pains of nature in their own flesh, their o\yn sick- 
nesses and diseases, did not awaken them, nor the 
voice of the Lord in them all : But the parting- stroke 
that divides the soul and body, will terribly awaken 
the soul from the vain delusion, and all its fancied 
delights for ever vanish. 

When they are ' visited by the Lord of hosts with 
this thunder and earthquake,' as the Prophet Isaiah 
speaks, when ' this storm and tempest' of death, shall 
shake the sinner out of his airy visions, he shall * be 
as an hungry man that dreameth he was eating, but 
awakes and his soul is empty ; or as a thirsty crea- 
ture dreaming that he drinks, but he awaketh and be- 
hold he is faint,' and his soul is pained with raging 
appetite : The sinner finds to his own torment, how 
wretchedly he has deceived himself and fed upon 
vanity : There are no more earthly objects to please 
his senses, and to gratify his inclinations ; but the 
soul for ever lives upon a rack of carnal desire, and 
no proper object to satisfy it. His taste is not suit- 
ed to the pleasures of a world of spirits, he can fintl 
no God there to comfort him : God with his ofiers 
of grace are gone for ever, and the world with its joys 
are for ever vanished, while the wretched and mali- 
cious creatures, into whose company he is hurried, 
anxl who were the tempters or associates of his crimes, 
shall stand round him to become his tormentors. 

IIL ' Though death will awaken sinful souls into 
a sharper and more lively sense of divine and heaven- 
ly things than ever they had in this world, yet they 


shall never be awakened to spiritual life and holi- 
ness:' And I diink I may add, that though they 
should be awakened to a sight of God, and his jus- 
tice, and his grace, to a sight of heaven and hell, more 
immediate and perspicuous than what even the saints 
themselves usually enjoy in this life, yet they would 
remain still under the bondage of their lusts, still 
dead in trespasses and sins. They shall for ever 
continue unbeloved of God, and incapable of all the 
happiness of the heavenly state, because they are for 
ever averse to the holiness of God, and themselves 
for ever unholy. It is only in the present state of 
trial, and under the present proposals of grace, that 
sleeping sinners can be awakened into the spiritual 
and divine life. The voice of the son of God, that 
breaks the monuments of brass, and makes tombs of 
hardest marble yield to his call, shall never break 
one heart of stone, which is gone down to death, in 
its native and sinful hardness: That almighty voice 
that must awaken the nations of the dead, and com- 
mand their bodies up from the grave, shall never 
awaken one dead soul, when they are past the limits 
of this life. The compassionate calls of a Saviour, 
and the offers of mercy, are then come to their utmost 
period : And if we refuse to hear the call of mercy 
to the moment of death, we shall then be terribly, 
constrained to feel the loss of it, but never able to 
obtain die blessing. 

Obstinate sleepers shall be awakened to see God, 
but only as Balaam was: '* I shall see him but not 
nigh," Numb. xxiv. 17. The saints iu this life. 



have God near them in all their trials, as a father and 
a friend, to uphold, to comfort, to sanctify, though 
they see him but darkly through a glass, and behold 
but little of his power or glory : The sinner awaking 
in hell shall, perhaps, have a clearer and more acute 
pei^ception of what God is, than any saint on earth : 
But he shall behold him as an enemy, and not a 
friend : If he beholds him in the glory of his grace, 
it is at a dreadful and insuperable distance ; there is 
no grace for him : He sees him in his holiness, but 
he cannot love him, he has no meltings of true peni. 
tence for his former rebellions against God, his heart 
is hardened into everlasting enmity, and shall never 
taste of his love. Hence arise all the foul and gnaw- 
ing passions of envy, malignity, and long despair, 
which are the very image of Satan, and change man- 
kind into devils. 

These im|)enitent sons and daughters of men, shall 
grow into the more complete likeness of those wick- 
ed spirits, and, under the impressions of their guilt 
and damnation, they shall rival those apostate and 
cursed creatures, in the obstinate hatred of God, and 
all that is holy. 

IV. Hence it will follow in the last place, that the 
sinner who is ' flist asleep in his sins at the hour of 
^death, shall awake into such a life as is worse than 
dying.' He shall be surprised all at once into dark- 
ness and fire, which have no gleam of light, and sor- 
rows without mitigation, and which can find no end. 
The punishment of hell is not called eternal deaths 
to denote a state of senseless and stupid existence ; 


but death being the most opposite to life, and all the 
enjoyments of it, the misery of hell is described by 
death, as the most formidable thing to nature, as a 
word that puts a period to all the enjoyments of this 
mortal life, ^ and stands directly opposite to ajife of 
joy and glory in the immortal world. Happy would 
it be for such souls if they could sink into an ever- 
lasting sleep, and grow stupid and senseless for ever 
and ever ; but this is a favour not to be granted to 
those who have been constant and unrepenting rebels, 
against the law and the grace of God. 

The moment when the body falls asleep in death, 
the soul is more awake than ever, to behold its own 
guilt and wretchedness. It has then such a lively and 
piercing sense of its own iniquities, and the divine 
wrath that is due to them, as it never saw or felt 
before. The inward senses of the soul (if I may so 
express it) which have been darkened and stupified, 
and benumbed in this body, are all awake at once, 
when the veil of flesh is thrown off, and the curtains 
are drawn back which divided them from the world 
of spirits. Every thought of sin, and the anger of 
God, wounds the spirit deep in this awakened state, 
though it scarce felt any thing of it before ; and ''a 
wounded spirit who can bear?" Prov. xviii. 14. But 
sinners must bear it days without end, and ages with- 
out hope. 

Then the crimes they have committed, and the 
sinful pleasures they have indulged, shall glare upon 
their remembrance, and stare them in the face with 
dreadful surprise 3 and each of them is enough to 


drive a soul to despair : Nor can they turn their eyes 
away from the horrid sight, for their criminal prac- 
tices beset them around, and the naked soul is all 
sight and all sense ; it is eye and ear all over ; it 
hears the dreadful curses of the law, and the sentence 
of the Judge, and never, never forgets it. This is 
the character, these the circumstances of an obstinate 
sinner, that awakes not till the moment of death, and 
'' lift up his eyes in hell," as our Saviour expresses 
it : These will be the consequences of our guilt and 
folly, if we are found in a dead sleep of sin, when our 
Lord comes to call us from this mortal state. 

Secondly, Let us spend a few thoughts also upon 
the dangerous and unhappy circumstances of those 
of whom we may * have some reason to hope, they 
have once begun religion in good earnest, and are 
made spiritually alive, but have indulged themselves 
in drowsiness, and worn out the latter end of their 
days in a careless, secure, and slothful frame of 

1. If they have had the principle of vital religion 
wrought in their hearts, yet * by these criminal slum- 
bers, they darken and lose their evidences of grace, 
and by this means, they cut themselves off from the 
sweet reflections and comforts of it on a dying bed, 
when they have most need of them.' They know 
not whether they are the children of God or no, 
and are in anxious confusion and distressing fear : 
They have scarce any plain proofs of their conver- 
sion to God, and the evidences of true Christianity 
ready at hand, when all are little enough to support 


their spirits: They have not used themselves to search 
for them by self-enquiry, and to keep them in their 
sight, and therefore they are missing in this import- 
ant hour: They have not been wont to live upon their 
heavenly hopes, and they cannot be found when they 
want them to rest upon in death : They die therefore 
almost like sinners, though they may perhaps have 
been once converted to holiness, and there may be a 
root of grace remaining in them ; and the reason is, 
because they have lived too much as sinners do : 
They have given too great and criminal an indul- 
gence, to the vain and worldly cares, or the trifling 
amusements of this life ; these have engrossed almost 
all their thoughts and their time, and therefore in the 
day of death they fall under terrors and painful ap- 
prehensions of a doubtful eternity just at hand. 

If we have not walked closely with God in this 
world, we may well be afraid to appear before him 
in the next. If we have not maintained a constant 
converse with Jesus our Saviour, by holy exercises 
of faith and hope, it is no wonder if we are not so 
ready with cheerfulness and joy, to resign our de- 
parting spirits into his hand. It is possible we may 
liave a right to the inheritance of heaven, having had 
some sight of it by faith as revealed in the gospel, 
having in the main chosen it for our portion, arid set 
our feet in the path of holiness that leads to it ; but we 
have so often wandered out of the way, that in this 
awful and solemn hour, we shall be in doubt, whe- 
ther we shall be received at the gates, and enter int-o 
the citv. 


Such unvvatchful Christians have not kept the eter- 
nal glories of heaven, in their constant and active pur- 
suit, they have not lived upon them as their portion 
and inheritance, they have been too much strangers 
to the invisible world of happiness, and they know 
not how to venture through death into it. They have 
built ' indeed upon the ^(?/i<f foundation, Christ Jesus' 
and the gospel, but they have mingled so much ' hay 
and stubble' with the superstructure, that when they 
depart hence, or when they appear before Christ in 
judgment, '^ they shall suffer great loss by the burn- 
ing of their works, yet themselves may be saved so 
as by fire," 1 Cor. iii. 10 — 15. They may pass as 
it were by the flame of hell, and have something like 
the scorching terrors of it in death, though the 
abounding and forgiving grace of the gospel, may 
convey them safe to heaven : They escape as a man 
that is awakened with the sudden alarms of fire, who 
suffers the loss of his substance, and a great part of 
the fruit of his labours, and just saves his own life. 
They plunge into eternity, and make a sort of terri- 
ble escape from hell. 

2. ' They can never expect any peculiar favours 
from heaven at the hour of death, no special visita- 
tions of the comforting spirit, nor that the love of 
God, and the joy of his presence, should attend them 
through the dark valley.' It is not to such unvvatch- 
ful or sleepy Christians, that God is wont to vouch- 
safe his choicest consolations. They fliU under ter- 
rible fears about the pardon of their sins, when they 
stand in most need of the sight of their pardon; and 


Christ as the ruler of his church, sees it fit they should 
be thus punished for their negligence. They lay 
hold of the promises of mercy with a trembling hand, 
and cannot claim them by a vigorous faith, because 
they have not been wont to live upon them, nor do 
they see those holy characters in their own hearts and 
lives, which confirm their title to them. They have 
no bright views of the celestial world, and earnests of 
their salvation, for it is only for watchful souls, that 
these cordials are prepared in the fainting hour : It is 
only to the watchful Christian, that these fore-tastes 
of glory are given. *' The fruit of righteousness is 
peace, and the effect of righteousness is quietness and 
assurance for ever," Isai. xxxii. 17. *' Blessed is he 
which vvatcheth, and kecpeth his garments" clean, 
that he may enter with triumph into that city, where 
nothing shall enter that defiLeth. 

3. ' Slumbering and slothful Christians are often- 
times left to wrestle with sore temptations of Satan, 
and have dreadful conflicts in the day of death :' aqd 
the reason is evident, because they have not watched 
against their adversary, and obtained but few victo- 
ries over him in their life. These temptations are 
keen and piercing thorns, that enter deep into the 
heart, of a dying creature. The devil may be let 
loose upon them * with great wrath, knowing that 
his time is but short ;' and yet there is great justice 
in the conduct of the God in heaven, in giving them 
up to be buffetted by the powers of helL What 
frightful agonies are raised in the conscience, by the 
tempter, and the accuser of souls, on asjck or dying 


bed, can hardly be described by the living, and are 
known only to those who have felt them in death. 

4. ' Such drowsy Christians make dismal work 
for new and terrible repentance on a death bed ;' for, 
though they have sincerely repented in times past of 
their former sins, yet, having too much omitted the 
self- mortifying duties, having given too much indul- 
gence to temptation and folly, and having not main- 
tained this habitual penitence, for their daily offences 
in constant exercise, their spirits are now filled with 
fresh convictions, and bitter remorse of heart. The 
guilt of their careless and slothful conduct finds them 
out now, and besets them around, and they feel most 
acute sorrows, and wounding reflections of consci- 
ence, while they have need of most comfort. What 
a glorious entrance had St. Paul into the world of 
spirits, and the presence of Christ? He had made re- 
pentance and mortification and faith in Jesus, his dai- 
ly work: ** O wretched man that I am ! Who shall 
deliver me from the body of this death ? I run, I fight, 
I subdue my body, and keep it under; I am cruci- 
fied to the world, and the world to me ; the life which 
I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of 
God :" When he was *' ready to be offered up, and 
the time of his departure was at hand," from the e(]^^Q 
of the sword, and the borders of the grave, he could 
look back upon his former life, and say, '' I have 
fous^ht the good fight, I have finished my course, I 
have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me 
a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righte- 
ous Judge will give me." 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. 


5. ' The unwatchful Christian, at the hour of death, 
has the pain and anguish of reflecting, tliat he has 
omitted many duties to God and man, and these can 
never be performed now;' that he has done scarce 
any services for Christ in the world, and those must 
be left for ever undone : There is no further %vork or 
device, no labours of zeal, no activity for God ' in the 
grave,' whither we are hastening. Eccl. ix. 10. 
* Alas ! I have brought forth but little fruit to God, 
and it is well if I be not cast away as an unprofitable 
servant. My talents have lain bound up in rust, or 
been but poorly employed, whilst I have lain slum- 
bering and unactive : The records of my life in the 
court of heaven, will shew but very little service for 
God amongst men : I have raised few monuments of 
praise to my Redeemer, and I can never raise them 
now. I shall have but few testimonies for my love 
and zeal, to appear in the great day of account, when 
the martyrs, and the confessors, and the lively Chris- 
tians, shall be surrounded with the living ensigns of 
their victories over sin and the world, and their glo- 
rious services for their Redeemer. Wretch that I am 1 
That I have loved my Lord at so cold a rate, and lain 
slumbering on a bed of ease, whilst I should have 
been fighting the battles of the Lord, and gaining 
daily honours for ray Saviour !' 

6. * As such sort of Christians give but little glory 
to God in life, so they do him no honour in death; 
they are no ornaments to religion while they continue 
here, and leave perhaps but little comfort witli their 
friends when they go hence:' Doubtings and jealou- 


sies about their eternal welfare, mingle with our tears 
and sorrows for a dying friend ; these anxious fears 
about the departed spirit swell the tide of our grief 
high, and double the inward anguish. They are gone 
alas ! from our world, but we know not whither they 
are gone, to heaven or to hell. A sad farewel to 
those wdiom we love! A dismal parting-stroke, and 
a long heart- ake! 

And what honour can be expected to be done to 
God or his Son, what reputation or glory can be giv- 
en to religion and the gospel, by a drowsy Christian 
departing, as it were, under a spiritual lethargy ? He 
dies under a cloud, and casts a gloom upon the Chris- 
tian faith. St. Paul was a man of another spirit, a 
lively and active saint, full of vigour and zeal in his 
soul : It w^as the holy resolution and assurance of this 
blessed apostle, *' that Christ should be magnified in 
his body, whether by life or death." Phil. i. 20. 
He spent * his life' in the service of Christ, and he 
could rejoice in * death as his gain.' It is a glory to 
the gospel, when we can lie down and die with cour- 
age, in the hope of its promised blessings. It is an 
honour to our common faith, when it overcomes the 
terrors of death, and raises the Christian to a song of 
triumph, in view of the last enemy. It is as a new 
crown put upon the head of our Redeemer, and a 
living cordial put into the hands of mourning friends 
in our dying hour, when we can take our leave o£ 
them with holy fortitude, rejoicing in the salvation of 
Christ. No sooner does he call but we are ready, 
and can answer, with holy transport, * Lord I come,' 


This is a blessing that belongs only to the watchful 
Christian. May every one of us be awake to salva- 
tion in our expiring moments, and partake of this 
glorious blessedness ! 

I proceed now to a few remarks, and particularly 
such as relate to the necessity and duty of constant 
watchfulness, and the hazardous case of sleeping 

1. Remark, 'To presume on long life is a most dan- 
gerous temptation, for it is the common spring and 
cause of spiritual sleep and drowsiness.' Could we 
take an inward view of the hearts of men, and trace 
out the springs of their coldness and indiflerence 
about eternal things, and the shameful neglect of their 
most important interests, we should find this secret 
thought in the bottom of their hearts, that * we are 
not like to die to-day or to-morrow.' They put this 
evil day af\r off, and indulge themselves in their car- 
nal delights, without due solicitude to prepare for the 
call of God. There is scarce any thing produces so 
much evil fruit in the world, so much shameful wick- 
edness amongst the sensual and the profane, or such 
neglect of lively religion among real Christians, as 
this bitter root of presumption upon life and time be- 
fore us. r\Iatth. xxiv, 48, 49. *' The evil servant'* 
did not '* begin to smite his fellows and to eat and 
drink with the drunken," till he " said in his heart, 
my Lord delayeth his coming:" It was "while the 
bridegroom tarried," and they imagined he would 
tarry longer, that even the njiiise n:irgins fell into slmn" 
hers. Ask your own hearts, my friendS; does not 


. this thought secretly lurk within you, when you com- 
ply with a temptation, ' surely I shall not die yet, I 
have no sickness upon me, nor tokens of death, I 
shall live a little longer, and repent of my follies?' 
Vain expectation and groundless fancy ! When you 
see the young, and the strong, and the healthy, seiz- 
ed away from the midst of you, and a final period 
put at once to all their works and designs in this life. 
Yet we are foolish enough to imagine our term of 
life shall be extended, and we presume upon months 
and vears, w^hich God hath not written down for us 
in his own book, and which he will never give us to 

We are all borderers upon the river of death, 
which convevs us into the eternal world, and we 
should be ever waiting the call of our Lord, that we 
may launch away with joy, to the regions of immor- 
tality : But thoughtless creatures that we are, we are 
perpetually wandering far up, into the fields of sense 
and time, we are gathering the gay and fading flowers 
that grow there, and filling our laps with them as a 
fair treasure, or making garlands for ambition to 
crown our brows, till one and another of us is called 
cfTon a sudden, and hurried away from this mortal 
coast: Those of us who survive, are surprised a lit- 
tle, we stand gazing, we follow our departing friends 
with a weeping eye for a minute or two, and then we 
fall to our amusements again, and grow busy as be- 
fore, in gathering the flowers of time and sense. O 
how fond we are to enrich ourselves with these perish- 
\xi^ trifles, and adorn our heads with honours and 


withering vanities, never thinking which of us may 
receive the next summons to leave all behind us, and 
stand before God; but each presumes, * it will not 
be sent to me.' We trifle with God and things eter- 
nal, or utterly forget them, while our hands and our 
hearts are thus deeply engaged in the pursuit of our 
earthly delights: All our powers of thought and ac- 
tion, are intensely busied amongst the dreams of this 
life, while we are asleep to God, because we vainly 
imagine he will not call us yet. 

2. Remark, 'Whatsoever puts us in mind of dy- 
ing, should be improved to awaken us from our spi- 
ritual sleep.' Sudden deaths near us should have 
this effect ; our young companions and acquaintance 
snatcli^d away from among us in an unexpected 
hour, should become our monitors in death, and 
teach us this divine and needful lesson: The sur- 
prising loss of our friends who lay near our hearts, 
should put us in mind of our own departure, and 
powerfully awaken us from our dangerous slumbers. 
Sinners when they feel no sorrows, they think of no 
death ; but ' when the judgments of God are in the 
earth,' his Spirit can awaken 'the inhabitants of the 
world to learn righteousness.' At such seasons it is 
lime for 'the sinners in Zion' to be * afraid,' and 
' fearfulness to surprise the hypocrites.' Even the 
children of God have sometimes need of painful 
warning-pieces, to awaken them from their careless, 
their slothful, and their secure frame : And as for 
those souls who are indeed awake to righteousness, 
and lively in the practice of all religion and virtue, 


such sudden and awful strokes of Providence have a 
happy tendency to wean them from creatures, and 
keep them awake to God, that * when their Lord 
comes he may find them watching,' and pronounce 
U]X)n them everlasting blessedness. 

3. Remark. * No person can be exempted from this 
duty of watchfulness, till he is Lord of his own life, 
and can appoint the time of his own dying.' Then 
indeed you might have some colour for your carnal 
indulgences, some pretence for sleeping, if you were 
sovereign of death and the grave, and had the keys 
in your own hand. 

And truly such as venture to sleep in sin, do in 
effect say, ' we are Lords of our own life :' They act 
and manage as if their times were in their own hands, 
and not in the hand of their Maker : But the watch- 
ful Christian lives upon that principle, which David 
professes, Psal. xxxi. 15. *' my times are in thine 
hand," O Lord; and they never give rest to them- 
selves till they can rejoice with him, and say to the 
Lord, '' thou art my God^ into thy hands 1 commit 
my spirit y for thou hast redeemed it, and I leave it 
to thy appointment when thou wilt dislodge me from 
this body of flesh and blood, and call me into thy 
more immediate presence.'' If we could but resist 
the messenger of death, when the Lord of hosts has 
sent it, if we could shut the mouth of the grave when 
the Son of God has opened it for us, with the key 
that is entrusted in his hand, we might say then to 
our souls, ' sleep on upon your bed of ease, and take 
vourrest:' But woe be to those, who will venture 


to sleep in an unholy and unpardoned state, or even 
allow themselves the indulgence of short and sinful 
slumbers, when they cannot resist death one moment, 
when they cannot delay the summons of heaven, 
when they cannot defer their appearance before that 
Judge, whose sentence is eternal pleasure, or ever- 
lasting pain. 

Our holy watch must not be intermitted one mo- 
ment, for every following moment is a grand uncer- 
tainty. There is no minute of life, no point of time, 
wherein I can say * I shall not die,' and therefore I 
should not dare to say, * this minute I will take 
a short slumber.' What if my Lord should sum- 
mon me while he finds me sleeping > His command 
cannot be disobeyed, the very call and sound of it di- 
vides me from flesh and blood, and all that is mortal, 
and sends me at once into the eternal world, for it is 
an almighty voice. 

4. Remark, As it is a foolish and dangerous thing, 
for any of the sons and daughters of men to presume 
upon long life, and neglect their watch, so * persons 
under some peculiar circumstances, are eminently 
called to be ever wakeful.' Give me leave here to 
reckon up some of them, and make a particular ad- 
dress to the persons concerned. 

(1.) ' Is your constitution of body weak and feeble ?' 
You carry then a perpetual warning about you never 
to indulge sinful drowsiness. Every languor of na- 
ture assures you that it is sinking to the dust: Every 
pain you feel, should put you in mind, that the pains 
of death are ready to seize you : You are tottering 


upon the very borders of the grave, and will you 
venture to drop in before your hopes of life and im- 
mortality are secured, and a joyful resurrection? You 
pass perhaps many nights, wherein the infirmities 
of your flesh will not suffer you to sleep, and to take 
that common refreshment of nature, and shall not 
these same infirmities keep you awake to things spi- 
ritual, and rouse all your thoughts and cares about 
your immortal interests? 

(2.) 'You whose circumstances or employments 
of life, expose you to perpetual dangers either by 
land or by sea;' you who carry your lives as it were 
in your hand, and are often in a day within a few 
inches of death; is it not necessary for you to in- 
quire daily. Am I prepared for a departure hence ? 
Am I ready to hear the summons of my Lord, and 
ready to give up my account before him ? Shall I 
dare go on another day with my sins unpardon- 
ed, with my soul unsanctified, and in immediate 
danger of eternal misery ? A fall from a horse, or a 
liouse-top, may send you down to the pit whence 
there is no redemption; every wind that blows, and 
every rising wave, may convey you into the eternal 
world, and are you ready to meet the great God in 
such a surprise, and without warning? 

(3,) You who are ' young and vigorous, and flour- 
ish amidst all the gaieties and allurements of life,^ 
you are in most danger of being lulled asleep in sin, 
^nd therefore I addressed you lately in a funeral dis- 
course, when the present providence gave each of 


you a new and loud call to awake, and I pray God 
you may hear his voice in it. 

(4. ) Perhaps others of you are arrived at old age, 
and the course of nature forbids you to expect a long 
continuance in the land of the living : Are any of my 
hearers ancient sinners and asleep still? Venturous 
and thoughtless creatures! That have grown old in 
slumber, and worn out their whole life in iniquities! 
Surely it is time for you to hear the voice of the Son 
of God in the gospel, and accept of his salvation : 
Behold the Judge is at the door, he comes speedily, 
and he will not tarry, his herald of death is just at 
hand : Are you willing he should seize you in a dead- 
ly sleep, and send you into eternal sorrows ? 

And let aged Christians bestir themselves, and 
awake from their slothful and secure frames of spirit, 
let them look upward to the crown that is not far off, 
to the prize that is almost within reach : ' Whatso- 
ever your hand' or heart ' find to do' for God, ' do it 
with all your' zeal and ' might : Let your loins be 
girt' about, and your natural powers active in his ser- 
vice, ' let your lamp' of profession be bright and burn" 
ing, that when Jesus comes, ye may receive him with 


(5.) And are there any of you *that are under de- 
cays of grace and piety,* that are ' labouring and 
wrestling with strong corruptions,' or in actual con- 
flict with repeated temptations which too often pre- 
vail over you, it becomes you to hear the watch- 
word which Christ often gives to his churches under 
&uch circumstances : Make haste and awake unto 


holiness, * be watchful and strengthen the things that 
remain that arc ready to die ; hold fast what thou 
hast received ; remember thy first affection and zeal, 
and repent' and mourn for what thou hast lost, * lest 
I come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know 
the hour : Remember whence thou art fallen, and re- 
pent, and do thy first works, for thou hast lost thy 
first love:' Have a care of dangerous luke-warmness^ 
and indifference in the things of religion. This is the 
very temper of a sleepy declining Christian, while he 
dreams he is rich and has great attainments : Take 
heed, lest presuming upon thy riches and thy self-suf- 
ficiency, thou shouldest be found * wretched and mis- 
erable, and poor, and blind, and naked.' Keep your 
souls awake hourly, and be upon your guard against 
every adversary, and every defilement, lest ye be 
seized away in the commission of some sin, or in 
the compliance with some foul temptation. The 
drowsy soldier is liable to be led captive, and to die 
in fetters, and groan heavily in death. But * bless- 
ed is the watchful' Christian ; he shall be found 
amongst the overcomers, and shall partake of the rich 
variety of divine favours, which are contained in the 
epistles to the seven churches. Rev. ii. and iii. , 

Though the greatest part of a former discourse, 
has been describing the blessedness of a watchful 
Christian at the hour of death, and in this I have set 
before you the sad consequences that attend sleepers, 
(both which are powerful preser'vatives against drow- 
siness) yet at the conclusion of this sermon, give me 
leave to add a few more motives to the duty of watch- 


fulness, for we cannot be too well guarded against 
the danger of spiritual sloth and security. 

Motive 1. * Our natures at best in the present state 
are too much inclined to slumber.' We are too rea- 
dy to fall asleep hourly : All the saints on earth, 
even the most lively and active of them, are not out 
of danger, while they carry this flesh and blood about 
them. Indeed the best of Christians here below dwell 
but as it were in twilight, and in some sense they may 
be described as persons between sleeping and wak- 
ing, in comparison of the world of spirits. We be- 
hold divine things here but darkly , and exert our spi- 
ritual faculties but in a feeble manner : It is only in 
the other world, that we are broad awake, and in the 
perfect and unrestrained exercise of our vital powers; 
there only the complete life and vigour of a saint ap- 
pears. In such a drowsy state then, and in this dusky 
hour, we cannot be too diligent in rousing ourselves, 
lest we sink down into dangerous slumbers. Besides, 
if we profess to be ' children of the light and of the 
day,' and growing up to a brighter immortality, * let 
us not sleep as others do' who are the sons and daugh- 
ters of night and darkness. 1 Thes. v. 4, 5. 

Motive 2. * Almost every thing around us in this 
world of sense and sin, tends to lull us asleep again 
as soon as we begin to be awake.' The busy or the 
pleasant scenes of this temporal life arc ever calling 
away our thoughts from eternal things, they conceal 
from us the spiritual world, and close our eyes to 
God, and things divine and heavenly. If the eye of 
the soul were but open to invisible things, what live- 


\y Christians should we be ? But either the winds 
of worldly cares rock us to sleep, or the charm of 
worldly pleasures soothe us into deceitful slumbers. 
We are too ready to indulge earthly delights, and 
while we dream of pleasure in the creatures, we lose, 
or at least, abate our delights in God. Even the 
lawful satisfactions of flesh and sense, and the entic- 
ing objects round about us, may attach our hearts so 
fast to them, as to draw us down into a bed of carnal 
ease, till we fall asleep in spiritual security, and for- 
get that we are made for heaven, and that our hope 
and our home is on high. 

Motive 3. * Many thousands have been found sleep- 
ing at the call of Christ :' Some perhaps in a pro- 
found and deadly sleep, and others in an hour of 
dangerous slumber: Many an acquaintance of ours 
has gone down to the grave, when neither they nor 
we thought of their dying at such a season. But as 
thoughdess as they were, they were never the fur- 
ther from the point of death ; and we shudder with 
horror when we think what is become of their souls. 

While we are young we are ready to please our- 
selves with the enjoyments of life, and flatter our 
hopes with along succession of them. We suppose 
death to be at the distance * of fifty or threescore 
miles;' threescore years and ten is the appointed pe- 
riod : But alas ! How few are there whose hopes are 
fulfilled, or whose life is extended to those dimen- 
sions ? Perhaps the messenger of death is within a 
furlong of our dwelling; a few more steps onward, 
and he smites us down to the dust. 


There are some beautiful verses which 1 have read 
perhaps thirty years ago, wherein the ingenious au- 
thor describes the different stages of human life, un- 
der the image of a fair prospect or landscape, and 
death is placed by mistaken mortals, afar off, beyond 
them all. Since the lines return now upon my re- 
membrance, I will repeat them here with some small 
alteration. They are as follow: 

Life and the scenes that round it rise, 

Share in the same uncertainties, 

Yet still we hugg ourselves with vain presage 

Of future days serene and long, 

Of pleasures fresh and ever strong, 
An active youth and slow declining age. 

Like a fair prospect still we make 

Things future pleasing forms to take ; 
First verdant meads arise and flowery fields; 

Cool groves and shady copses here, 

There brooks and winding streams appear. 
While change of objects still new pleasures yield? 

Farther fine castles court the eye, 

There wealth and honours we espy ; 
Beyond, a huddled mixture fills the stage. 

Till the remoter distance shrouds 

The plains with hills, those hills with clouds^ 
There we place death behind old shivering age. 

When death alas, perhaps too nigh, 

In the next hedge doth skulking lie, 
There plants his engines, thence lets fly his dart-, 

Which while we ramble without fear, 

Will stop us in our full career, 
And force us from our airy dreams to part. 

How fond and vain are our imaginations, when we 
have seen others called away on a sudden from the 

A a 



early scenes of life, to promise ourselves a long con- 
tinuance here ! We have the same feeble bodies, the 
same tabernacles of clay that others have, and we are 
liable to many of the same accidents or casualties: 
The same killing diseases are at work in our natures, 
and why should we imagine, or presume, that others 
should go so much before us ? 

And if we enquire of ourselves as to character or 
merit, or moral circumstances of any kind, and com- 
pare ourselves with those that are gone before, what 
foundation have we to promise ourselves a longer con- 
tinuance here ? Have we not the same sins or greater 
to provoke God? Are we more useful in the world 
than they, and do more service for his name ? May 
not God summon us off the stage of life on a sudden, 
as well as others ? What are we better than they t 
Are we not as much under the sovereign disposal of 
the great God as any of our acquaintance who have 
been seized in the flower and prime of life, and called 
away in an unexpected hour ? And what power have 
we to resist the seizure, or what promise to hope that 
God will delay longer ? Let us then no more deceive 
ourselves with vain imaginations, but each of us 
awake and bestir ourselves as though we were the 
next persons to be called away from this assembly, 
and to appear next before the Lord. 

3fotive 4. ' When we are awake, we are not only 
fitter for the coming of our Lord to call us away by 
death, and fitter for his appearance to the great 
judgment, but we are better prepared also to attend 
him in every call to present duty, and more ready 


to meet his appearance in every providence.' It is 
the Christian soldier who is ever awake and on his 
guard, that is only fit for every sudden appointment 
to new stations and services, he is more prepared for 
any post of danger or hazardous enterprize, and bet- 
ter furnished to sustain the roughest assaults. We 
shall be less shocked at sudden afflictions here on 
earth, if our souls keep heaven in view, and are rea- 
dy winged for immortality. When we are fit to die 
we are fit to live also, and to do better service for 
God in whichsoever of his worlds he shall please to 
appoint our station. My business, O Father, and 
my joy, is to do thy will among the sons of mortal- 
ity, or among the spirits of the blest on high. 

Motive 5. * Let us remember we have slept too 
long already in days past, and it is but a little while 
that we are called to watch.' We have worn away 
too much of our life in sloth and drowsiness. The 
* night is far spent' with many of us, ** the day is at 
hand ; it is now high time to awake out of sleep, for 
now is our salvation nearer than when we first believ- 
ed." Rom. xiii. 11, 12. Another hour or two, 
' and the night will be at an end with us,' Jesus the 
morning star is just appearing ; what ? * Can we not 
watch one hour ?' O happy souls, that keep them- 
selves awake to God in the midst of this dreaming 
world ! Happy indeed, when our Lord shall call us 
out of these dusky regions, and we shall answer his 
call with holy joy, and spring upward to the inherit- 
ance of the saints in light ! Then all the seasons of 
darkness, and slumbering, will be finished for ever; 


there is no need of laborious watchfulness in that 
world, where there is no flesh and blood to hang hea- 
vy upon the spirit; but the sanctified powers of the 
soul are all life, and immortal vigour. There is ' no 
want of the sun-beams' to make their day-light, or to 
irradiate ' that city ; the glory of God enlightens it' 
with divine splendors, * and the Lamb is the light 
thereof:' No inhabitant can sleep under such an 
united blaze of grace and glory : No faintings of na- 
ture, no languors or weariness are found in all that 
vital climate ; every citizen is for ever awake and 
busy under the beams of that glorious day; zeal, and 
love, and joy, are the springs of their eternal activity, 
and * there is no night there.' 



glojRifieb in his saints. 

2 Ep. Thessal. i. 10. 

When he shall come to he glorified in his saints^ and 
admired in all them that believe. 

HOW mean and contemptible soever our Lord Je- 
sus Christ might appear heretofore on earth, yet there 
is a day coming when he shall make a glorious figure 
in the sight of men and angels. How little soever the 
saints may be esteemed in our day, and look poor 
and despicable in an ungodly world, yet there is an 
hour approaching when they shall be glorious beyond 
all imagination, and Christ himself shall be glorified 
in them. In that day shall the Lord our Saviour be 
the object of adoration and wonder, not only among 
those of the sons of men that have believed on him, 
but before all the intellectual creation, and that upon 
the account of his grace manifested in believers. 

The natural enquiry that arises here is this, ' What 
particular instances of the grace of Christ in his 
saints, shall be the matter of our admiration, and his 
,glory in that day ?' 


To this I shall propose an answer under the follow- 
ing particulars. 

Firsts It is a matter of pleasing wonder, * that per- 
sons of all characters should have been united in one 
faith, and persuaded to trust in the same Saviour, and 
embrace the same salvation;' for some of all sorts 
shall stand in that blessed Assembly. Then it shall 
be a fruitful spring of wonder and glory, that men of 
various nations and ages, of different tempers, capa- 
cities, and interests, of contrary educations, and con- 
trary prejudices, should believe one gospel, and trust 
in one Deliverer, from hell and death : That the 
sprightly, the studious and the stupid, the wise and 
the foolish, should relish and rejoice in the same sub- 
lime truths, not only concerning the true God, but 
also concerning Jesus the Redeemer; that the Bar- 
barian and the Roman, the Greek and the Jew, 
should approve and receive the same doctrines of 
salvation, that they should come into the same senti- 
ments in the matters of religion, and live upon them 
as their only hope. 

Astonishing spectacle ! When the dark and savage 
inhabitants of Africa, and our fore -flithers, the rugged 
and warlike Britons, from the * ends of the earth,' 
shall appear in that assembly, with some of the po- 
lite nations of Greece and Rome, and each of them 
shall glory in having been taught to renounce the gods 
of their ancestors, and the demons which they once 
worshipped, and shall rejoice in Jesus the king of Is» 
rael, and in Jehovah the everlasting God, 


The conversion of the Gentile world to Christian- 
ity, is a matter of glorious wonder, and shall appear 
to be so in that great day : That those who had been 
educated to believe many gods, or no god at all, 
should renounce atheism and idolatry, and adore the 
true God only ; and those that were taught to sacri- 
fice to idols, and to atone for their own sins with the 
blood of beasts, should trust in one sacrifice, and the 
atoning blood of the Son of God. Here shall stand 
a believing atheist^ and there a converted idolater^ as 
monuments of the Almighty power of his grace. 

There shall shine also in that assembly, here and 
there a prince, and a philosopher, though * not many 
wise, not many noble, not many mighty are called;' 
and they shall be matter of wonder and glory; that 
princes who love no controul, should bow their scep- 
tres and their souls, to the royalty and godhead of the 
poor man of Nazareth : That the heathen philosophers ^ 
who had been used only to yield to reason, should 
submit their understandings to divine revelation, even 
when it has something above the powers and discove- 
ries of reason in it. 

It shall raise our holy wonder too when we shall 
behold some of the Jewish Priests and Pharisees, who 
became converts to the Christian faith, adorning the 
triumph of that day. The Jewish Pharisees who 
expected a glorious temporal prince for their Mes- 
siah, that they should at last own the son of a carpen- 
ter for their Teacher, their Saviour and their King; 
that they should veil the pride of their souls, and ac- 
knowledge a parcel of poor fishermen for his chief 


ministers of state, and receive them as ambassadors 
to the world. That those who thought they were righ- 
teous, and boasted in it, should renounce their boast- 
ings and their righteousnesses, and learn to expect 
salvation and life for themselves, from the death and 
righteousness of another: That they who once called 
the cross of Christ * folly and weakness,' should come 
to see the ' wisdom and power of God' in a crucified 
jnan, and believe him who hung upon a tree as an 
accursed creature, to be Emmanuel, God with us, 
* God manifest in the flesh,' and the Saviour of man- 

Surely shall men and angels say in that day, ' these 
were the effects of an Almighty power, it was the 
work of God the Saviour, and it is marvellous in our 
eyes.' With united voices shall all the saints con- 
fess, " flehh and blood has not revealed this unto us, 
but the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of God 
the Father. We had perished in our folly, but 
Christ has been made wisdom to us; we were in dark- 
ness and lay under ihe shadow of death, but Christ 
has gi'uen us light.'''' 1 Cor. i. 30. Ephes. v. 14. 

Come, all ye saints of these latter ages upon whom 
the end of the world is come, raise your heads with 
me and look far backwards, even to the beginning of 
time and the days of Adam; for the believers of all 
ages, as well as of all nations, shall appear together in 
that day, and acknowledge Jesus the Saviour : Ac- 
cording to the brighter or darker discoveries of the 
age in which they lived, he has been the common 
cbjec^ of their fuith. Ever since he was called the 


•seed of the woman,' till the time of his appearance 
in the flesh, all the chosen of God have lived upon 
his grace, though multitudes of them never knew his 
name. It is true, the giea:er part of that illu^ rious 
company on the right hand of Christ, lived since the 
time of his incarnation, (for the *' gieat multicude 
which no man could number, is derived from the 
Gentile nations." Rev. vii. 9.) Yet the ancient pa- 
triarchs, with the Jewish prophets and saints, shall 
make a splendid appearance theic: * One hundred 
and forty-four thousand are sealed among the tribes 
of Israel :' These of old embraced the gospel in types 
and shadows; but now their eyes behold Christ Je- 
sus the substance and the truth. In the days of their 
flesh they read his name in dark lines, and looked 
through the long glass of prophecy to distant ages, 
and a Saviour to come, and now behold they find 
complete and certain salvation and glory in him. 
*' These all died in faith, not having received the pro- 
mises, but having seen them afctr ofl", and were per- 
suaded of them, and embraced them." Heb. xi. 13. 
They died in the ho'pe of this salvation, and they shall 
arise in the blessed possession of it. 

Behold Abraham appearing there, the Father of the 
faithful, who ' saw the day of Christ,' and rejoiced lo 
se^ it, who trusted in his Son Jesus two thousand 
years before he was born: His elder family the pious 
Jews surround him there, and we his younger chil- 
dren among the Gentiles, shall stand with him as the 
followers of his faith, who trust in the same Jesus 
almost two thousand years after he is dead. How 

B 2 


sliall we both * rejoice to see this brightest day' of the 
Son of man, and congratulate each others faith, while 
our eyes meet and center in him, and our souls tri- 
umph in the sight and love, and enjoyment of him in 
whom we believed! How admirable and divinely glo- 
rious shall our Lord himself appear on vyhom every 
eye is fixed with unutterable delight, in whom the 
faith of distant countries and ages is centered and re- 
conciled, and in whom * all the nations of the earth* 
appear to be ' blessed,' according to the ancient word 
of promise. Gen, xv. aiid xvii. 

Secondly, It is a further occasion of pleasing W'on- 
der, * that so many wicked obstinate wills of men, 
and so many perverse affections, should be bowed 
down, and submit themselves to the holy rules of 
the gos[)€l.' This is another instance of the grace 
of Christ, and shall be the subject of our joyful ad- 
miration. Every son and daughter of Adam by na- 
ture is averse to God, and inclined to sin, a child of 
disobedience and death. Eph. ii. 2. There is a 
new miracle wrought by Christ in every instance of 
converting grace, and he shall have the glory of them 
ail in that day. It is a first resurrection from the 
dead, it is a new creation, and the Almighty power 
shall then be publicly adored. 

Then one shall say, ' I was a sensual sinner'^ drench- 
ed in liquor and unclean lusts, and wicked in all the 
forms of lewdness and intemperance : " The grace 
of God my Saviour appeared to me, and taught me 
to deny worldly lusts, ^' which I once thought I could 
never have parted with. I loved my sins as my life. 


but he has persuaded and constrained me to cut ofl' 
a right hand, and to pluck out a rii^ht eye, and to 
part with my darling vices ; and behold me here a 
monument of his saving mercy. 

* I was eniiious against my neighbour,, (shall ano- 
ther say) and my temper was malice a?id wrath ; re- 
Denge was mingled VAith my constitution, and I 
thought it no iniquity: But I bless the name of 
Christ my Redeemer, who in the day of his grace 
turned my wrath into meekness; he inclined me to 
love even mine enemies, and to pray for them that 
cursed me ; he taught me all this by his own exam- 
ple, and he made me learn it by the sovereign influ- 
ences of his spirit. I am a wonder to myself, when 
I think what once I was : Amazing change and al- 
mighty grace !' 

Then a third shall confess, ' I was 2l profane %vretcby 
a swearer, a blasphemer ; I hoped for no heaven, and 
I feared no hell; but the Lord seized me in the midst 
of my rebellions, and sent his arrows into my soul; 
he made me feel the stings of an awakened consci- 
ence, and constrained me to believe there was a God 
and a hell, till I cried out astonished, what shall I do 
to he saned? Then he led me to partake of his own 
salvation, and from a proud rebellious infidel, he has 
made me a penitent and a humble believer ; and here 
I stand to shew forth the wonders of his grace, and 
the boundless extent of his forgiveness.' 

A fourth shall stand up and acknowledge in that . 
dav, ' And I was 7\ poor carnal coi^etous creature^ who 
made this world my god, and abundance of money 


was my heaven; but be cured me of this vile idolatry 
of gold, taught me how to obtain treasures in the 
heavenly world, and to forsake all on earth, that I 
might have an inheritance there; and behold he has 
not disappointed my hope: I am now made rich in- 
deed, and I must for ever speak his praises.' 

There shall be no doubt or dispute in that day> 
whether it was the power of our own will, or the su- 
perior power of divine grace, that wrought the bless- 
ed change, that turned a lion into a lamb, a grovelling 
eardi-worm into a bird of paradise, and of a covetous 
or malicious sinner, made a meek and a heavenly 
saint. The grace of Christ shall be so conspicuous 
in every gloriBed believer in that assembly, that with 
ont v')ice they shall all shout to the praise and glory 
of his grace; " Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to 
thy name be all the honour." Psal. ex v. 1. 

Thirdly^ It shall be the matter of our wonder, and 
the glory of Christ in that day, * that so many thou- 
sand guilty wretches should be made righteous by 
one righteousness, cleansed in one laver from all 
their iniquities, and sprinkled unto pardon and sanc- 
tification, with the blood of one man, Jesus Christ. 
See the *' great multitude that no man can number," 
Rev. vii. 9, 10. They all '' washed their robes, and 
made them white in the blood of the Lamb." ver. 14. 

It is a matter of wonder to us now on earth, that 
the bfessed Son of God who is one with the Father, 
should stoop so low as to unite himself to a mortal 
nature, that he should becom,e a poor despicable man, 
and pass through a life-of suflerings and sorrows, and 


die an accursed death, to redeem us from ^uilt and 
deserved misery: But when we shall see him in liis 
native calory and lustre, his acquired dignities, and 
all the honours nf heaven heaped upon him, it w<ll 
raise our wonder hi^di, to think that such a One 
should once humble himself to the death of the cross, 
the death of the vilest slave, that he might save our 
souls froni dvir.e; that he should pour out his own 
blood to wash off the stains of millions of sins, that 
we might appear righteous before a God of holiness. 
Then shall the multitude of the saved join in that 
song, " To him that loved us, and washed us from 
our sins in his own biood, be glory and dominion for 
ever.'' Rev. i. 5, 6. " Worthy is the Lamb that 
was slain to receive power, and riches, and honour, 
for thou hast redeemed us with thy blood froni every 
kindred., tribe and nation." Rev. v. 

Then shall those blessed words of Scripture appear 
and shine in full glory, howsoever they are often pass- 
ed over in silence, and too much forgotten in our 
age. Rom. v. 17, 19, 21. '' If by one man's offence 
death reigned by one; much more they which re- 
ceive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righte- 
ousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. For 
as by one man's disobedience many were made sin- 
ners, so by the c ^edience of one shall many be made 
righteous. That as sin hath reigned unto death, 
even so might grace reign through righteousness 
unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." Then 
shall our blessed Lord shine in the complete lustre 
of that incommunicable name, Jehovah '.['zidkeni/, 
tbe Lord our rightcousneE^s, Jer. xxiii. 6, 


And not only the atonement and salvation itself, 
shall be the subject of our glorious admiration, but 
\\\c * way and manner' how sinners partake of it, shall 
niinister further to our wonder, and to the glory of 
Christ. That such a world of poor miserable crea- 
tures should be saved from hell, by believing or trust- 
ing in grace, when they could never be saved by all 
their own works; that they should obtain righteous- 
mess and acceptance unto eternal life, by a humble 
})enitence and poverty of spirit, depending on the 
death and righteousness of another, when all their 
labours and toil in works of the law, could not 
make up a righteousness of their own, sufficient to 
a'ppear before the justice of God ; Christ will not on- 
ly be glorified in their holiness as saints^ but admired 
and honoured in and by their faith as belieiiers. 
His blood and his grace shall share all the glory. 
*' Therefore it is of faith," and not of works, " that 
it might be of grace," Rom. iv. 15. Yet this saving 
faith is the spring of shining holiness in every believ- 
er. Duties and virtues are not left out of our reli- 
gion, when faith is brought into it. The graces of 
the saints join happily w ith the atonement of Christ, 
to render that day more illustrious. 

Fourthly, * That a company of such feeble Chris- 
tians, should maintain their course towards heaven, 
through so many thousand obstacles:' This shall be 
another subject of admiration, and yield a further re- 
venue of glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, for he who 
is their rii2:hteousncss is their strength also. Isa. xlv. 
i;^. 25. '- In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel glo- 


ry" in that clay, as their strength and their salvation. 
They have broke through all their difficulties, and 
were ** able to do all things through Christ strength- 
ening them." Phil, iv, 13. 

Behold that noble army with palms in their hands; 
once they were weak warriors, yet they overcame 
mighty enemies, and have gained the victory and the 
prize; enemies rising from earth, and from hell, to 
tempt and to accuse them, but '* they overcame by 
the blood of the Lamb." Rev. xii. 7, 11. What 
a divine honour shall it be to o\?r Lord Jesus Christ, 
the captain of our salvation, that weak Christians 
should subdue their strong corruptions, and get safe 
to heaven through a thousandoppositions within and 
without : It is all owing to the grace of Christ, that 
grace which is all-sufficient for every saint. 2 Cor. 
xii. 9. They are '* made more than conquerors 
through him that has loved them." Rom. viii. 38. 

Then shall the fl^ith, and courage, and patience of 
the saints, have a blessed review;, and it shall be tokl 
before the whole creation what strife and wrestlings a 
poor believer has passed through in a dark cottage, 
a chamber of long sickness, or perhaps in adungeonv; 
how he has there combated with powers of darkness, 
how he has struggled with huge sorrows, and * has 
borne and has not fainted,' though he has been often 
* in heaviness through manifold temptations.' Then 
shall appear the bright scene v/hich St. Peter repre- 
sents as the event of sore trials, 1 Pet. i. 6, 7. 
When our 'faith has been tried in the fire' of tribu- 
lation, and is found * more precious than gold,' it 


shall shine to the * praise, honour, and glory,' of the 
suffering saints, and of Christ hunself ' at his appear- 

Behold that illustrious troop of martyrs, and some 
among ihem of the feeblest sex and of tender age; 
now that women should grow bold in faith, even in 
the sight of torments, and children, v\ ith a manly cou- 
rage, should profess the name of Christ in the face of 
angry atid threatening rulers; that some of these 
should become undaunted confessors of the truth, 
and others hi, fire and torture; these things 
shall be matter of glory to Christ in that day; it was 
his power diat gave them courage and victory in mar- 
tyrdom and death. Every Christian there, every sol- 
dier in tlrat triumphing army, shall ascribe his con- 
quest to the grace of his Lord, his Leader, and lay 
down all their tiophics at the feet of his Saviour, with 
humble acknowledgments and shouts of honour. 

Almost ail the saved number were, at some part of 
tlieir lives, weak \n faith, and yet, by the s>race of 
Christ, \\\t\ held out to the end, and are crowned. 
' I was a poor trembling creature, shall one say, but 

1 was confirmed in my faith and holiness by the gos- 
pel of Christ; or I rested on a naked promise and 
found support, because Christ was there, and he shall 
have the gk)ry of it.' " In him are all the promises 
yea, and in liim Amen, to the glory of the Father," 

2 Cor. i. 20, 21, 22. And the Son shall share in 
this glory, for he died to ratify these promises, and 
he lives to fulfil them. 


' Oh what an almighty arm is this (shall the be- 
liever say) that has borne up so many thousands of 
poor sinking creatures, and lifted their heads above 
the waves!' The spark of grace that lived many 
years in a flood of temptations, and was not quench- 
ed, shall then shine bright, to the glory of Christ who 
kindled and maintained it. When we have been 
brought through all the storms and the threatening 
seas, and yet the raging waves have been forbid to 
swallow us up, we shall cry out in raptures of joy 
and wonder, " What manner of man is this, that the 
winds and the seas have obeyed him?" 

Then shall it be gloriously evident, that he has 
conquered Satan, and kept the hosts of hell in chains, 
when it shall appear that he has made poor mean 
trembling believers victorious over all the powers of 
darkness, for the Prince of ' peace has bruised him 
under their feet.' 

Fifthly^ There is more work for our wonder and 
joy, and more glory for our blessed Lord, when we 
shall see ' that so many dark and dreadful provi- 
dences were working together in mercy, for the good 
of the saints ;' it is because Jesus Christ had the 
management of them all put in his hand; and we 
shall acknowledge "he has done all things well," 
Rom. viii. 28. *' All things have wrought together 
for good." It is the voice of Christ to every saint 
in sorrow, '* what I do thou knovvest not now, but 
thou shalt know hereafter," John xii. 7. I saw not 
then, saith the Christian, that my Lord was curing 
my pride, by such a threatening and abasing provi- 

c 2 


dencc, that lie was weaning my heart from sensual 
delights, by such a sharp and painful wound ; but 
now I behold things in another light, and give thanks 
and praises to my divine Physician. 

We shall look back upon the hours of our impa- 
tience, and be ashamed; we shall chide the flesh for 
its old repinings, when we shall stand upon the eter- 
nal hills of paradise, and cast our eyes back upon 
yonder transactions of time, those past ages of com- 
plaint and infirmity. We shall then, with pleasure 
and thankfulness, confess, that the captain of our sal- 
vation was much in the right to lead us through so 
many sufferings and sorrows, and we were much ia 
the wrong to complain of his conduct. 

Bear up your spirits then, ye poor afflicted dis- 
tressed souls, who are wrestling through difficult 
providences all in the dark. Bear up but a little 
longer, '* he that shall come, will come, and will not 
tarry;" he will set all his conduct in a fair light, and 
you shall say, ' Blessed be the Lord, and all his gov- 

Sixthly, * That heaven should be so well filled out 
of such a hell of sin and misery as this world is' shall 
be another delightful reflection full of wonder and 
glory. Take a short survey of mankind, how ' all 
flesh has corrupted its ways' before God, and * every 
imagination of the thought of man's heart is only 
evil, and that continually; there is none righteous, 
no not one.' Look round about you and see how 
iniquity abounds, violence, oppression, pride, lust, 
sensualities of all kinds, how they reign among the 


children of men : Religion is lost, and God forgot- 
ten in the world ; and yet, out of this wretched 
world, Christ has provided inhabitants for heaven, 
where ' nothing can enter that defileth.' Look into 
your own hearts, ye sinners, see what a hell lies 
there; and ye converts of the grace of Christ, look 
into your hearts too, and see how many of the seeds 
of wickedness still lie hid there; how much corrup- 
tion, and how little holiness; look inward, and won- 
der that Christ should ever fit you for heaven, by 
by his converting and his sanctifying grace. 

Look round the world again, and survey the mise- 
ries of this earth ; as many calamities as there are 
creatures, and perhaps ten times more : Who is there 
on earth without his sorrows? And sometimes a 
multitude of them meet in one single sufferer: See 
how toil, and weariness, and disappointment, pover- 
ty and sickness, pain, and anguish, and vexation, 
are distributed through this world, that lies on the 
borders of hell; see all this, and wonder at the grace 
of Christ, that has taken a colony cut of this miser^ 
able world, and made a heaven of it. 

We shall, many of us, be a wonder to each other 
as well as to ourselves, and we shall all review and 
admire the grace of Christ in and tovvards us all. 
Among the rest, there are two sorts of Christians 
whose salvation shall be a special matter of wonder, 
and these are the raelancholy and the uncharitable. 
The melanchGly Christian shall wonder that ever such 
a sinner as himself was brought to heaven; and the 
uncharitable shall wonder hov/ such a sinner as his 


neighbour came there. The poor doubting melan- 
choly soul, who was full of fears lest he should be 
condemned, shall then have full assurance that he is 
elected and redeemed, pardoned and saved, when he 
sees, hears and feels, the salvation and the glory upon 
him, within him, and all around him, and he shall 
admire and adore the grace of God his Saviour. 
The JiarroiJO'Souled Christian, who said his neighbour 
would be damned for want of some party notions, or 
for some lesser failings, shall confess his uncharita- 
ble mistake, and shall wonder at the abounding mer- 
cy of Christ, which has pardoned those errors in his 
neighbour,^ for which he had excommunicated and 
condemned him. Both these Christians in that day, 
I mean, the timorous and the censorious^ shall stand 
at his right-hand, as monuments of his surprising 
grace, who forgave one the defects of his faith, and 
the other his want of loije ; and their souls and their 
tongues shall join together to rejoice in the Lord, 
and their spirits shall magnify their God and Re- 
deemer: Christ shall have his due revenue of glory 
from both, in the hour of their public salvation. 

O what honour shall it add to the overflowing mer- 
cy of Christ, what joy and wonder to all the saints, 
to see Paul the persecutor and blasphemer there, and 
Peter who denied the Lord that bought him, and 
Mary Magdalene that impure sinner! See what a foul 
and shameful catalogue, what children of iniquity 
are at last nuide lieirs and possessors of heaven. 1 
Cor. vi. 9, 10, 11. The fornicators and idolaters, 
the thieves and the covetous, the drunkards, the re- 


vilers, and the extortioners. Such they were in the 
da3'S of ignorance and heathenism, fit fuel for the fire 
of hell ; and in those circumstances they are utterly 
excluded ' from the kingdom of God,' but now they 
find a place in that blessed assembly; and the con- 
verting grace of Christ is admired and glorified, that 
could turn such sinners into saints. O surprising 
scene of rich salvation, when these Corinthian con- 
verts, washed in the blood of Christ, and renewed by 
his spirit, shall appear in their white garments of ho- 
liness and glory! There is not one sinful creature to 
be found in all the vast retinue of the holy Jesus. 
But there are thousands who have been once great 
criminals, notorious sinners, and have been snatch- 
ed by the the arm of divine love, as ' brands out of 
the burning.' What an affecting sight will it be, 
when we shall behold all the members of Christ unit- 
ed to their Head, and complete in glory ; and see at 
the same time, a world of vile sinners doomed to de- 
struction ! With what adoration and wonder shall 
we cry out, *' and such were some of these happy 
ones, but they are sanctified, but they are jufitified, 
in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of 
our God," ver. 11. ' Not unto us, O Lord, not un- 
to us, but to' God our Saviour be eternal honour. 

In the sei^enth place, There is another glory and 
w^onder added to to this illustrious scene, and gives 
honour to our blessed Saviour, and that is, ' that so 
many vigorous, beautiful, and immortal bodies, 
should be raised at once out of the dust, with all their 
old infirmities left behind them:' Not one ach or 


pain, not one weakness or disease, among all the glo- 
rified millions: As the Israelites came out of their 
bondage in Egypt, so shall the army of saints from 
the prison of the grave, *'and not one feeble among 
them." Psal. cv. 37. This is the work of Christ 
the Creator and the Healer. 

Here I might run many sorrowful divisions, and 
travel over the large and thorny field of sickness and 
pains that attend human nature, those inborn mis- 
chiefs that vex poor Christians in this state of trial 
and suffering : But these were all buried when the 
body went to the grave, and they are buried for ever; 
he that has the keys of death, shall let the bodies of 
his saints out of prison ; but no gout nor stone, no 
infirmity nor distemper, no head-ach nor heart-ach, 
shall ever attend them. The body was * sown in 
weakness, bat it is raised in power ;' it was 'sown in 
dishonour, it is raised in glory,' through the power 
of the second Adam, and his quickening spirit. 1 
Cor. XV. 43, 45. Rom. viii. 11. 

Then shall Christ appear to be Sovereign and Lord 
of death, when such an endless multitude of old and 
new captives are released at his word, and the grave 
has restored its prey ; when those bodies wiiich have 
been turned into dust some thousands of years, and 
their atoms scattered abroad by tlie winds of heaven, 
shall be raised again in glory and dignity, to meet 
their descending Lord in the air. Surely Jesus in that 
day shall be acknowledged as a Sovereign of nature, 
wlien, at the word of his command, a new creation 
shall aribC, all perfect and immortal. 


It will add yet further glory to Christ, when we 
remember what fruitful seeds of iniquity were lodged 
in that flesh and blood, which we wore on earth, and 
which we laid down in the tomb; and when, at the 
same time, we survey our glorified bodies, how spi- 
ritual, how holy, how happily fitted for the service of 
glorified souls made perfect in holiness. How did all 
the saints once complain of a * law in their members, 
that warred against the law of their minds, and brought 
them into bondage to the law of sin ?' But this * law 
of sin' is now for ever abolished, this * bondage' dis- 
solved and broken, and these ' members' are all new- 
created, for ' instruments' of righteousness' to serve 
God in his temple, for ever and ever. Holy Paul shall 
ho more ' groan in a sinful tabernacle,' he shall no 
more complain of that ' fiesh wherein no good thing 
dwelt,' he shall cry out no more, *' O wretched man 
that I am, who shall deliver me ^" 

Many and bitter have been the sorrows of a holy 
soul in this world, because of the perverse disposi- 
tions of animal nature and the flesh: But none of the 
saints in that assembly shall ever feel again the stings 
of inward envy, the pricking thorns of peevishness, 
nor the wild ferments of * wrath and passion :' None 
of them shall ever find those ^ unruly appetites' which 
wrought so strongly in their old flesh and blood, and 
too often overpowered their unwilling souls, those ap- 
petites which brought their consciences sometimes 
under fresh guilt, and filled them with inward re- 
proaches, and agonies of spirit. These evil princi- 
ples are all destroyed by death, they arc lost in the 


grave, and shall have no resurrection. The new-rais- 
ed bodies of the righteous in that day, shall be com- 
pletely obedient to the dictates of their spirits, with- 
out any vicious juices to make reluctance, or perverse 
humours to raise an inward rebellion ; And not only 
so, but perhaps even our bodies shall have some ac- 
tive holy tendencies, wrought in them so far as cor- 
poreal nature can administer, toward the sacred ex- 
ercises of a glorified saint. A sweet and blessed 
change indeed! And Jesus who raised these bodies in 
this beauty ofhoUness, shall receive the glory of this 
divine work. 

The last instance I shall mention, wherein Christ 
shall be admired in his saints, is this, * they shall ap~ 
pear in that day, as so many images of his person, and 
as so many monuments of the success of his office.' 

Is the blessed Jesus a great Prophet and the Teach- 
er of his church? These are the persons that have 
learnt his divine doctrine, they have ' heard the joyful 
sound' of his gospel, and the holy truths of it are co- 
pied out in their hearts. These are the disciples of 
his school; and by his word, and by his spirit, they 
have been taught to know God and their Saviour, 
and they have been trained up in the way to eternal 

Is Jesus a great * High Priest, both of sacrifice and 
intercession ?' Behold all these souls, an endless num- 
ber, purified from their defilements by the blood oi 
his cross, washed and made white in that blessed la- 
ver, and reconciled to God by his atoning sacrifice : 
Behold the of his intercession, in securing mil- 


lions from the wrath of God, and in procuring for 
them every divine blessing. He has obtained for 
each of ihem grace and glory. 

Is Jesus the ' Lord of all things,' and the * King of 
his church?' Behold his subjects waiting on him, a 
numerous and a loyal multitude, who have the laws 
of their King engraven on their souls. These are the 
sons and daughters of Adam, whom he has rescued 
by his power from the kmgdom of darkness, and the 
hands of the devil : He has guarded them from the 
rage of their malicious adversaries in earth and hell,, 
and brought them safe through all difficulties, to be- 
hold the glories of this day, and to celebrate the ho- 
nours of their King, 

Is he the ' Captain of salvation ?' See what a bless- 
ed army he has listed under his banner of love ; and 
they have followed him through all the dangers of 
life and time under his conduct. These are the 
'chosen, the called, the faithful.' They have sus- 
tained many a sharp conflict, many a dreadful battle, 
and they are at last, ' made more than conquerors 
through him that has loved them.' They attribute 
all their victories to the wisdom, the goodness, and 
the power of their divine Leader ; and even stand 
amazed at their own success, against such mighty 
adversaries : But they fought under the banner, con- 
duct, and influence of the ' Prince of life,' the King 
of righteousness, who is always victorious, and has 
a crown in his hand for every conqueror. 

Is Jesus the great * example of his saints ?' Behold 
the virtues and graces of the Son of God, copied out 

D 2 


in all his followers. * As he was, so were they in 
this world, holy, harmless and undefiled, and separate 
from sinners:' As he nov»^ is, so are they, glorious in 
holiness, and divinely beautiful, while each of them 
reflects the image of their blessed Lord, and they ap- 
pear as wonders to all the beholding world. They 
* were unknown' here on earth, even as ' Christ him- 
self was unknown :' This is the day appointed to re- 
veal their works and their graces. Jesus is the 
^ brightness of his Father's glory, and the express 
image of his person;' and all the sons and daughters 
of God shall then appear, as so many pictures of the 
blessed Jesus, drawn by the finger of the eternal spi- 

And not their souls only, but their glorified bodies 
also are framed in his likeness. What grace and 
grandeur dvvells in each countenance, < as thou art,' 
O blessed Jesus, so shall they be in that day, ' all of 
them resembling the children of a king!' Vigour and 
health, beauty and immortality, shine and reign 
throughout all that blessed assembly. The adopted 
sons and daughters of God resemble the original and 
only begotten Son : Christ will have all his brethren 
and sisters conformed unto his glories, that they may^ 
be known to be his kindred, the children of his Fa^ 
ther, and that he ' may appear the first-born among 
many brethren.' When the Son of God breaks open 
the graves, he forms the dust of his saints, by the 
model of his own glorious aspect and figure, ** and 
changes their vile bodies into the likeness of his own 
glorious body, by that power whereby he is able to 


subdue iill things to himself," Phil. iii. ult. He shall 
be admired as the bright original , and each of the 
saints as a fair and glorious copy: The various beau- 
ties that are dispersed among all that assembly, arc 
summed up and united in himself; ' he is the chiefest 
of ten thousands, and alto,^ether lovely.' One sun 
in the firmament can paint his own bright image at 
once, upon a thousand reflecting glasses, or mirrors 
of gold : What a dazzling lustre would arise from 
such a scene of reflections! But what superior and 
inexpressible glory, above all the powers of similitude 
and beyond the reach of comparison, shall irradiate 
the world in that day, when Jesus the Son of righte- 
ousness shall shine upon all his saints, and And each 
of them well prepared to receive this lustre, and to 
reflect it round the creation; each of them displaying 
the image of the original Son of God, and confessing 
all their virtues and graces, all their beauties and glo- 
ries, both of soul and body, to be nothing else but 
mere copies and derivations from Jesus, the flrst and 
fairest image of the Father ! 

The doctrines and the works of divine grace are 
full of wonder and glory: Such is the person and 
oflices of Christ, such arc his holy and faithful follow- 
ers, and such eminently will be the blessed scene at 
his appearance. In the foregoing part of the dis- 
course, we have briefly surveyed some of those glo- 
rious wonders, we now come to consider what use 
inav be made of such a theme. 


Use 1. It gives us eminently these two lessons of 

Lesson 1. * How mistaken is the judgment of flesh 
and sense, in the things that relate to Christ and his 
saints.' The Son of God himself, was abused and 
scorned by the blind world, they esteemed him as 
*' one smitten of God and unbeloved," and *' they 
saw no beauty nor comeliness in him," Isa. liii. 23, 
He was poor and despised all his life, and he was 
doomed to the death of a criminal and a slave. As 
for the saints, they find no more honour or esteem 
among men than their Lord, they are many times 
called and counted * the filth of the world, and the off- 
scouring of all things,' 1 Cor. iv. 13. This is the 
judgment of flesh and sense. 

But when the great appointed hour is come, and 
Jesus shall return from heaven * with a shout of the 
arch-angel, and the trump of God,' when he shall call 
up his saints from their beds of dust and darkness, 
and make the graves resign those ' prisoners of hope,' 
when they shall all gather together around their 
Lord, a bright and numerous army, shining and re- 
flecting the splendours of his presence, how will the 
judgment of flesh and sense be confounded at once, 
and reversed with shame ! * Is this the man that was 
loaded with scandal, that was buffetted with scorn, 
and scourged and crucified in the land of Judea ? Is 
this the person that hung on the cursed tree, and ex- 
pired under agonies of pain and sorrow? Amazing 
sight ! How majestic, how divine his appearance ! 
The Son of God, and the King of glory ! And 

Discourse iv. glorified in his saints. 2.0.9. 

are these the men that were made the mockery of the 
world ? That wandered about in sheep- s kins ^ and goat- 
skins, in dens and caves of the earth? Surprising ap- 
pearance ! Huw illustrious ! Ho^^ fill of glory!' O 
that such a meditation might awaken us to judge 
more by faith. 

Lesson 2. The next lesson that we may derive 
from the text is this, viz. ' One great design of the 
day of judgment, is to advance and publish the glory 
of Christ.' lie shall come on purpose to * be glori- 
fied in his saints;' the whole creation was made by 
him and for him ; the transactions of Providence, 
grace and justice, are managed for his honour; and 
the joyful and terrible affliirs of the day of judgment, 
are designed to display the majesty and the power of 
Jesus the King, the wisdom and equity of Jesus the 
Judge, and the grace and truth of Jesus the Saviour. 
I will grant indeed, that the appoiiitment of this day 
is partly intended for the glory of Christ, in the * just 
destruction of the impenitent,' for he v^ ill be glori- 
fied in pouring out the vengeance of his Father upon 
rebellious sinners: " The I*ord Jesus shall be revealed 
from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 
taking vengeance on them that know not God, and 
obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
shall be punished with everlasting destruction from 
the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his 
power," ver. 7, 8, 9. before my text. ' But his 
sweetest and most valuable revenue of glory arises 
from' among his saints. 


If the * messengers of the churches' are called * the 
glory of Christ,' with all the weaknesses, and sins, 
and follies that attend the best of them here, as in 2 
Cor. viii. 23. much more shall they be his glory here- 
afier, when they shall have no spot nor blemish found 
upon them, and the work of Christ upon their souls 
has formed and finished them, in the perfect beauty 
of holiness. The saints shall reflect s^lory on each 
other, and all of them cast supreme lustre on Christ 
their head : The people shall be the crown and glory 
of the minister in that day, and the minister shall be 
the joy and glory of the people, and both shall be the 
crown, joy and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1. 
Thes. ii. 19, 20. 2 Cor. i. 14. 2 Thes. i. 12. He 
^hall appear high on a throne in the midst of thiit 
bright assembly, and say, ' Father, these are the 
sheep that thou hast given me, in the counsels of 
thine eternal love ; all these have I ransomed from 
hell at the price of my owm blood; these have I res- 
cued by my grace, from the dominion of sin and the 
dc\il; I have formed them unto holiness, and fitted 
them for lieaven ; I ha: v kept them by my power 
through all the dangers of their mortal state, and have 
broupht them safe to thv celestial kingdom: All 
thine 'arc iiiinc^ and all mine are thine ; I im as glorified 
in thcni on eanh : h>h\i xvii. 10. and they are now 
vci\ evtrlaslin": crow n and eIor^•.' 

Then shall the unknown worlds that never fell, 
worlds of angels and innocent creatures, and the 
uorld of guilty devils and condemned rebels, stand 
and VvOiider toi^-eiher at the lecoverv and balvation 


Christ has provided for the fallen sons of Adam. 
They shall stand amazed to see the millions of apos- 
tate creatures, the inhabitants of this earthly c^lobe, 
recovered to their duty and allegiance by the Son of 
God, going down to dwell amongst them ; millions of 
impure and deformed souls restored to the divine im- 
age, and made beautiful as angels, by the grace and 
spirit of our Lord Jesus. Those spectators shall be 
filled with admiration and transport, to see such a 
multitude of criminals pardoned and justified, for the 
sake of a righteousness which they themselves never 
wrought, and accepted as righteous in the sight of 
God, by a covenant of grace unknown to other 
w^orlds, and by faith in the great Mediator. They 
shall wonder to see such an innumerable company 
cf polluted wretches, washed from their sins in so 
precious a laver as the blood of God's own Son : And 
he that hung upon the cross as a spectacle of wretch- 
edness at Jerusalem, shall entertain the superior and 
inferior worlds with the sight of his adorable and di- 
vine glories, and the spoils he has brought from the 
regions of death and hell. Thus to ' the principali- 
ties and powers in heavenly places, shall be made 
known by the church triumphant, the manifold wis- 
dom,' and the manifold grace of God the Father, and 
his Son Jesus Christ, Eph. iii. 10. 

But tremble, Oh ye obstinate and impenitent 
wretches, ye sensual sinners, ye infidels of a Chris- 
tian name and nation, Christ u'ill be glorified in you 
one way or another : If your hearts are not bowed 
and melted to receive his gospel, you shall be * pun- 


ished with everlasting destruction' amoni^ those that 
* know not God, and obey not the gospel of his Son.* 

Tremble, ye sensual and ye profltne sons of ini- 
quity, when ye remember this day, when ye shall see 
the holy souls that ye scorned, with crowns on their 
heads, and palms in their hands, with the shout of 
victory and joy on their tongues, and the God- man 
whom ye despised, and whose grace ye neglected, 
shining at the head of that bright assembly. 

Tremble, ye infidels, ye despibcrs of the name of a 
crucified Christ, behold his cross is become a throne, 
and his crown of thorns a crown of glory : See the 
man whom ye have scorned and reproached, at the 
head of millions of angels, and ad<)red by ten thou- 
sand times ten thousand saintS; while wicked prinoes 
and captains, armies and nations of sinners, wait 
their doom from his mouth, nor dare hope for a word 
of his mercy. O make haste, and come and be re- 
conciled to him, and to God by him, that ye may be- 
long to that blessed assembly, that ye may bear a 
part in the triumphs of that day, and that Christ may 
be glorified in your recovery from the very borders 
of damnation. 

This thought leads me to the next use, 

II. This dis,course gives ' rich encouragement to 
the greatest sinners to hope for mercy, and to the 
weakest saints to hope for victory and salvation.* 
Such sort of subjects of the grace of Christ, shall 
yield him some of the brightest rays of glory at the 
last day. Yet, sinners, let me charge you here never 
to hope for this happiness without solemn repentance, 


and an entire change of heart unto hoHness, for an 
unholy soul would be a fearful blemish in that assem- 
bly, and a disgrace to our L(3rd Jesus. Christians I 
would charge you also never to hope for the happi- 
ness of this day, without battle and conquest, for all 
the members of that assembly must be overcomers ; 
but where there is a hearty desire and longing after 
grace and salvation, let not the worst of sinners des- 
pair, nor the weakest believer let go his hope, for it 
is such as you and I are, in whom Christ will be mag- 
nified in that day. 

Believe this, Oh thou humbled and convinced sin- 
ner, who com, plainest thy heart is hard, though thou 
wouldest fain repent and mourn ; who fearest the 
bonds of thy corruptions are so strong that they shall 
never be broken ; believe that the sovereign grace of 
Christ has designed to exalt itself in the sanctifica- 
tion of such unholy souls as thou art, and in melting 
such hard hearts as thine. And thou poor trembling 
saul that wouldest fain trust in a Saviour, but art 
afraid, because of the greatness of thy guilt, and 
thine abounding iniquities, believe this, that ' where 
sin has abounded, grace has much more abounded:' 
It is from the bringing such sinners as thou art to 
heaven, that the choicest revenues of glory shall arise 
to our Liord Jesus Christ, and thy acclamations of 
joy and honour to the Saviour, shall perhaps be loud- 
est in that day, * when he shall come to be glorified 
in his saints, and admired in all them that believe.' 

Read 1 Tim. i. 13, 14, 15, and 16. and see there 
what an account the great Aposde gives of his own 

E 2 


conversion; *' I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, 
and injurious, yet I obtained mercy; and the grace 
of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith, and 
love, which is in Jesus Cliiist." No^v 1 am sent to 
publish and preach to blasphemers and persecutors, 
that "this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all ac- 
ceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to 
save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit, for 
this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus 
Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pat- 
tern to them which should hereafter believe on him 
to life everlasting." 

Turn to another text, ye feeble believers, 2 Cor. 
xii. 9, 10. there you shall find the same Apostle a 
convert and a Christian, but too weak to conflict with 
the messenger of Satan that buffetted him, nor able 
to release himself from that sore temptation that lay- 
heavy upon him ; but having received a word from 
Christ that his ' grace was sufficient, and that his 
* strength was' to shine ' perfect in glory in the midst 
of our weakness,' the Apostle encourages himself to a 
joyful hope: Now, says he, I can even ** glory in my 
infirmities (so far as they are without sin) that the 
power of Christ may rest upon me; when I am weak" 
in myself, '' I am strong" in the Lord. 

Are not the most diseased patients the chief hon- 
ours of the physician that hath healed them ? And 
must not these appear eminently in that day, when 
he displays to the sight of the world the noblest mon- 
uments of his healing power ? When cripples and in- 
valids gain the victory over mighty enemies, is not 


the skill and conduct of their leader most admired ? 
You are the persons then in whom Christ will be i^lo- 
rifled, be of good cheer, receive his oftered grace, 
and wait for his salvation. 

III. The next use I shall make of this discourse, is 
to draw a * word of advice' from it. * Learn to des- 
pise those honours and ornaments in this world, in 
which Christ shall have no share in the world to 
coirie.' 1 do not say, * cast them all away,' for many 
things are needful in this life, that can have no imme- 
diate regard to the other; but * learn to despise them,' 
and set light by them, because they reach no further 
than time, and shall be forgotten in eternity. Never 
put the hi.^her esteem on yourselves or your neigh- 
bours, because of the gay glitterings of silk or silver; 
nor let these employ your eyes and your thoughts in 
the time of worship, when the things of the future 
world should fill up all your attention; nor let them 
entertain your tongues in your friendly visits, so as 
to exclude the discourse of divine ornaments, and the 
glorious appearance of our Lord Jesus. 

When I am to put on my best attire, let me consi- 
der, if I am hung round with jewels and gold, these 
must perish before that solemn day, or melt in the 
last great burning, they can add no beauty to me in 
that assembly. If I put on love, and faith, and hu- 
mility, I shall shine in these hereafter, and Christ 
shall have some rays of glory from them. O may 
your souls and mine be drest in those graces which 
are " ornaments of great prtce in the sight of God !" 
1 Pet. iii. 3, 4. Such as may command the respect 


of angels, and reflect honour upon Christ in that so- 
lemnity ! 

I confess we dwell in flesh and blood, and human 
nature in the best of us is too much imprest by things 
sensible: When we see a train of human pomp and 
grandeur, and long ranks of shining garments and 
equipage, it is ready to dazzle our eyes, and attract 
our hearts : Vain pomp, and poor equipage, all this, 
when compared with the triumph of our blessed 
Lord, at his appearance with an endless army of his 
holy ones ; where every saint shall be vested (not in 
silks and gold) but in robes of refined light, out shin- 
ing the sun, such as Christ himself wore in the mount 
of transfiguration. Millions of suns in one firma- 
ment of glory. Think on that day, and the illustrious 
retinue of our Lord: Think on that splendor that 
shall attract the eyes of heaven and earth, shall con- 
found the proud sinner, and astonish the inhabitants 
of hell: Such a meditation as this will cast a dim 
shadow over the brightest appearances of a court, or 
a royal festival ; it will spread a dead colouring over 
all the painted vanities of this life ; it will damp eve- 
ry thought of rising ambition and earthly pride, and 
we shall have but little heart to admire or wish for 
any of the vain shows of mortality. Methinks every 
gaudy scene of the present life, and all the gilded ho- 
nours of courts and armies, should grow faint, and 
fade 3#/ay, and vanish, at the meditation of this illus- 
trious appearance. 

IV. This text will give us also two hints of can- 


Firsts ' You that are rich in this world, or wise, or 
mighty, dare not ridicule nor scofF at those poor 
weak Christians, in wliom Christ shall be admired 
and glorified in the last day.' You that fancy you 
have any advantages of birth or beauty, of mind or 
body here on earth, dare not make a jest of your poor 
pious neighbour that wants them, for he is one of 
those persons whom Christ calls his glory, and he 
himself has given you warning, lest you incur his re- 
sentment on this account, Matth. xviii. 6. '' Whoso 
shall offend one of these little ones which believe in 
me, it were better for him that a millstone were hang- 
ed about his neck, and thai he were drowned in the 
depth of the sea." Perhaps the good man has some 
blemish in his outward form, or it may be his coun- 
tenance is dejected, or his mien and figure awkward 
and uncomely ; perhaps his garments sit wrong and 
unfashionable upon him, or it may be they hang in 
tatters; the motions of his body perhaps are ungrace- 
ful, his speech improper, and his deportment is simple 
and unpolished; but he has shining graces in his 
soul, in which Christ shall be admired in the last 
day, and how darest thou make him thy laughing- 
stock ? Wilt thou be willing to hear thy scornful jest 
repeated again at that day, when the poor derlcied 
Christian has his robes of glory on, and the Judge of 
all shall acknowledge him for one of his favourires ? 

The second hint oi' c^utum is this, *You that shall be 
the glory of Christ in that day, dare not do any thing 
that may dishonour him now.' Walk answerable to 
your character and your hope, nor indulge the least 


sinful defilement. Say within yourselves, * Am I to 
make one in that splendid retinue of my Lord, where 
every one must appear in robes of holiness, and shall 
I spot my garments with the flesh ? When I am pro- 
voked to anger and indignation, let me say, doth 
wrath and bluster become a follower and an attendant 
of the meek and peaceful Jesus ? When 1 am tempt- 
ed to pride and vanity of mind, will this be a beauty, 
or a blemish, to that assembly that shines in glorious 
humility ? Or perhaps I am wavering, and ready to 
yield, and become a captive to some foolish tempta- 
tion; but how then can I expect a place in that holy 
triumph, which is appointed for none but c )nquerors? 
And how shall I be able to look my blessed General 
in the face on that day, if I prove a coward under his 
banner, and abandon my profession of strict holiness, 
at the demand of a sinful and threatening world ?' 

V. The last use I shall make of the text, is matter 
of ' consolation and joy' to two sorts of Christians. 

Firsts ' To the poor, mean, and despised followers 
of Christ,' and in whom Christ himself is despised by 
the ungodly world ; read my text, and believe that 
in you, Christ shall be glorified and admired, when, 
with a million of angels, he shall descend from hea- 
ven, and make his last appearance upon earth ; mean 
as you are in your own esteem, because of your ig- 
norance and your weakness in this world, you shall 
he one of the giories of Christ in the world to come: 
Little and despicable as you are in the esteem of 
proud sinners, they shall behold your Lord exalted 
on his throne, and you sitting among the honours at 


his right hand, while they shall rage afar off, and 
gnabh their teeth at your glory : When the eye of 
faith is open, it can spy this bright hour at a distance, 
and bid the mourning Christian rejoice in hope. 

Secondly, There is comfort also in my text, to those 
* who mourn for the dishonour of Christ in the world;' 
those lively members of the mystical body who sym- 
pathize with the blessed Head, under all the re- 
proaches that are cast upon him and his gospel, who 
groan under the load of scandal that is thrown upon 
Christ in an infidel age, as though it were personally 
thrown upon themselves. It is matter of lamenta- , 
tion indeed, that there are but few of this sort of 
Christians in our day, few that love our Lord Jesus 
with such tenderness; but if such there be among 
you, open your eyes, and look forward to this glori- 
ous day. This day, to which Enoch, the first of all 
the prophets, and John, the last of all the Apostles, 
directs our faith. Read their own words, Jude 14, 
15. Rev. i. 7. *' Behold, the Lord cometh with ten 
thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon 
all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, 
of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodlily 
committed, and of all the hard speeches, which un- 
godly sinners have spoken against him. Behold, he 
cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, 
and they also which pierced him : And all kindreds 
of the earth shall wail because of him." Bear up 
your hearts, ye mourners, and support your hopes 
with the promise of our Lord. *' Again, a little 
while and ve shall see me ;" ve shall see *' the Son ^ 



of man sitting on the throne of his glory," Matt. xxv. 
31. 'Then shall your heart rejoice' in his honours 
and in your own, and this *' joy no man taketh from 
you," John xvi. 19, 22, And while he repeats this 
promise with his last words in the Bible, ' surely I 
come quickly,' let every soul of us echo to the voice 
of our beloved, Amen. E'oen so come Lord Jesm* 



Rev. vi. 15, 16, 17. 

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the 
rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty merty 
and every bond-man, and every free-man, hid them- 
selves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains ; 
and said to the mountains and rocks , fall on us, and 
hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, 
and from the vorath of the Lamb: For the great day of 
bis ivrath is come; and who shall be able to stand. 

WHEN some terrible judgment, or execution of 
divine vengeance is denounced against an age or a 
nation, it is sometimes described in the language of 
prophecy, by a resemblance to the last and great 
judgment-day, when all mankind shall be called to 
account for their sins, and the just and final indig- 
nation of God shall be executed upon obstinate and 
unrepenting criminals; the discourse of our Saviour 
in the xxivth of Matthew, is an eminent example of 
this kind, where the destruction of the Jewish na- 
tion is predicted, together with the final judgment 
of the world, in such uniform language, and similar 
phrases of speech, that it is difficult to say, whether 
both these scenes of vengeance run through the 

whole discourse, or which part of the discourse be- 

F 2 


longs to the one, and which to the other. The 
same nnanner of prophecy appears in this text. 

Learned interpreters suppose these words to fore- 
tel the universal consternation w^hich was found 
amongst the headien idoh\ters and persecutors of die 
Church of Christ, when Constantine, the first Chris- 
tian Emperor, was raised to the throne of Rome, 
and became governor of the world. But whether 
they hit upon the proper application of this prophecy 
or not, yet still it is pretty evident, that this scene 
of terror is borrowed from the last judgment, which 
will emmently appear to be the '*day of wrath," as 
it is called, I^om. ii. 5, It is the great day of divine 
indignation, in so eminent a manner, that all the tre- 
meiKlous desolations of kingdoms and people, from 
the creation of the world, to the consummation of 
all things, shall be but as shadows of that day of 
terror and vengeance. 

I shall therefore consider these words at present, 
as they contain a solemn representation of that last 
glorious and dreadful day ; and here I shall enquire 
particularly, (1.) 'Who are the persons whose aspect 
and appearance shall then be so dreadful to sinners? 
(2.) How comes the wrath which discovers itself a,t 
that time to be so formidable? and (3.) How vain 
will all the shifts and hopes of sinners be, in that 
dreadful day, to avoid the wrath and vengeance.' 

First, Who are the persons that appear clothed in 
so much terror ? 

AnsuK It is he that ''sits upon the throne and the 
Lamb:" It is God the Father of all, the great mui 


Almighty Creator, the supreme Lord and Governor 
of the world, and the Lamb of God, i. c. our Lord 
Jesus Christ, his Son, dwelhn^ in human nature, 
to whom the jud^^^ment of the world is committed, 
and by whom the Father will introduce the terrible 
and the illustrious scenes of that day, and manage 
the important and eternal aflLiirs of it. It it by these 
names that the Apostle John, in this prophetical 
book, describes God the Father and his Son Jesus. 
Rev. iv. 10. and v. 6. — 13. 

If it be enquired, why God the Father is descri!)- 
ed as the person 'sittinij^ on the throne,' this is 
plainly iigreeahle to the other representations of him 
throughout the Scripture, where he is described as 
first and supreme in authority, as sittitig on the 
throne of majesty on high, as denoting and commis- 
sioning the Lord Jesus, his well-beloved Son, to act 
for him, and as placing him on his throne, to execute 
his works of mercy or vengeance. Rev. iii. 21. **He 
thatovercometh shall sitdovvn with me on my throne," 
saith our Saviour, ''even as I have overcome, and am 
^et down with rheFather on his throne." John v. 22, 27. 
*The Father hath committed all judgment into the 
hands of the Son." It is true, the Godhead or di\-ine 
essence is but one, and it is the same Godhead which 
belongs to the Father that dwells in the Son, and in 
this respect '* Christ and the Father are one, he is in 
the Father, and the Father in him," John x. 30, 38 ; 
vet the Fiiher is constantly exhibited in Scripture, 
with peculiar characters of prime authority, and ihe 


Son is represented as receiving all from the Father. 
John V. 19, 20, 22, 26, 27. 

If it be farther enquired, *why Christ is called the 
Lamb of God,' I shall not pursue those many fine 
metaphors and similes, in which the wit and fancy 
of men have run a long course on this subject ; but 
shall only mention these two things. 

1. He is called the Lamb, from the innocence of 
his behaviour, the quietness and meekness of his dis- 
position and conduct in the world. The character of 
Jesus, among men, was peaceful, and harmless, and 
patient of injuries; "when he was reviled, he reviled 
not again, but was led as a Lamb to the slaughter," 
with submission, and without revenge : This re- 
semblance apj>ears, and is set forth to view in several 
Scriptures, wherein he is compared to this gentle 
creature. Acts viii. 32. 1 Pet. ii. 23. 

2. He is called the Lamb, because he was appoint- 
ed a sacrifice for the sins of men; John i. 29. '* Be- 
hold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins 
of the world." 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. '* You were redeemed 
with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb with- 
out blemish, and without spot." It was a lamb that 
was ordained for the constant daily sacrifice amongst 
the Jews, morning and evening, to typify the con- 
stant and everlasting influence of the atonement made 
by the death of Christ. Heb. x. 11, 12. It was a 
lamb which was sacrificed at the passover, and on 
which the fam.ilies of Israel feasted, to commemorate 
their redemption from the slavery of Egypt, and to 
typify Christ who is **our passover, who was sacrific- 


cd for us,* and for whose sake the destroying angel 
spares ali tliat trust in him, 1 Cor. v. 7. 

But will a Iamb discover such dreadful wrath? 
Has the Lamb of God such indignation in him ? 
Can the meek, the compassionate, the n\erciful Son 
of God, put on such terrible forms and appearances ? 
Are his tender mercies vanished quite away, and 
will he renounce the kind aspect, and the gentle 
language of a lamb for ever ? 

To this I answer, that the various glories and of- 
fices of our blessed Lord, require a variety of human 
metaphors and emblems to represent them. He was 
a lamb, full of gentleness, meekness, and compas- 
sion, to invite and encourage sinful perishing crea- 
tures, to accept of divine mercy: But he has now to 
deal with obstinate and rebellious criminals, who re- 
nounce his Father's mercy, and resist all the gentle 
methods of his own grace and salvation: And he is 
sent by the Father to punish those rebellions, but he 
is named /the Lamb of God' still, to put the rebels 
in mind what gentleness and compassion they have 
affronted and abused, and to make it appear that their 
guilt is utterly inexcusable. 

Let us remember, Christ is now a Lamb, raised to 
the throne in heaven, and furnished and armed 'with 
seven eyes and seven horns,' with perfect knowledge 
and perfect power, to govern the world, to vindicate 
his own honour, and to avenge himself upon his im- 
penitent and obstinate enemies. Rev. v. 5, 6. Here 
the L'up.b will assume the name of the "Lion of the 
tribe of Judah" also, and he must act in difi^erent 


characters, according to the persons he has to deal 

The second g:eneral question which we are to con- 
sider, is, ' How comes the wrath of that great day to 
he so terrible ?' 

I answer in general, because it is not only the 
« wrath of God,' but of ' the Lamb :' It is the wrath 
that is manifested for the affronts of divine authority, 
and the abuse of divine mercy: It is wrath that is 
awakened by the contempt of the laws of God, writ- 
ten in the books of natufe and Scripture, and for the 
contempt of his love revealed in the Gospel by Jesus 

It is proper to observe here, that the * wrath of 
God,' and the *wrath of the Lamb,' are not to be con- 
ceived MS exactly the same, for it is the wrath of the 
Son of God in his human nature exalted, as well as 
the displeasure of God the Father: It is the righteous 
and holy resentment of the man Jesus, awakened and 
let loose against rebellious creatures that have broken 
all the rules of his Father's government, and have re- 
fused all the proposals of his Father's grace : It is the 
wrath of the hiidiest, the greatest, and the best of 
creatures, joined to the wrath of an offended Crea- 
tor^. But let us enter a little into particulars. 

* Here let it be observed, that when the holy Scripture speaks of the 
r.rath and indignation of the blessed God, we. are not to understand it as 
thnu'^^h God were subject to such passions or affections of nature, as we 
feel fermenting or working within ourselves when our anger rises: But 
because the jnsiice or rectoral wisdom of God inclines liim to bring natu- 
ral evil, pain or sorrow, upon those who are obstinately guilty of moral 
evil or sin, and to treat them as anger or wrath inclines men to treat those 


1. It is righteous wrath, and just and deserved 
vengeance, that * arises from the clearest discoveries 
of the love of God neglected, and the sweetest mes- 
,sages of divine grace refused.' All the former dis- 
coveries of the love of God to men, both in nature 
and providence, as well as by divine revelation, 
whether made by men, or by angels, whether in the 
dcjys of the Patriarchs, or in the days of IMoses and 
the Jews, were fiir inferior to the grace which was 
revealed by Jesus Christ ; and therefore the sin of 
rejecting it is greater in proportion, and the punish- 
ment will be more severe. *'If the word spoken by- 
angels was stedfast, and every transgression and dis- 
obedience received a just recompence of reward, — 
how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, 
as THIS which began to be spoken by our Lord?'' 
Heb. ii. 2, 3. 

Moses had many true discoveries of grace made to 
him, and entrusted with him, for sinful men : But the 
Scripture saiih, Johni. 17. *'The law came by Moses, 
and grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," i. e. ia 
such superabundance, as though grace and truth had 
never appeared in the world before. The forgiving 
mercy of God, under the veil of ceremonies and sa- 
crifices, and the mediation of Christ, under the type 

that have ofFended them; therefore the Scripiure, speaking after the man- 
ner of men, calls it, the voratb and hidignation of God. 

And it is hard to say, whether or no the %-^raib of the Lamb, i. e. of the 
man Christ Jesu^ , in whom the Godhead dwells, be any thing more . than the 
calm, dispassionate, rectoral wisdom of the human nature of Chnst, in- 
clining him to panich rebellious and impenitent sinners, in conformity to 
the will of God his Father, or iu concurrence with the G!:;dhead which 
dv^ells in him. 


of the high priest, was but a dark and imperfect 
discovery, in comparison of the free, the large, the 
full forgiveness, which is brought to us by the gospel 
of Christ. Learn this doctrine at large, from Heb» 
X. 1. — 14. This is amazing mercy, astonishing 
grctce, and the despisers of it will deserve to perish 
with double destruction, for they wink their eyes 
against clearer light, and reject the offers of more 
abounding love. 

2. It is wrath that is * awakened by the most pre* 
cious and most expensive methods of salvaiu)n slight- 
ed and undervalued.' Well may God say to Chris- 
tian nations, especially fo Lreat- Britain^ who sits 
under the daily sound of this g^spei, '* What could 
I have done more for you than I have done?" Isa. v. 4. 
*I have sent my own Son, the son of my bosom, the 
son of my eternal love, to take flesh and blood upon 
him, that he might be able to die in your siead, who 
were guilty rebels, and deserved to die: I have given 
him up to the insults and injuries of men, to the 
temptations, the buffetings, and rage of devils, to the 
stroke of the sword of my justice, to the cursed death 
of the cross for you ; here is heaven and salvation 
purchased Ibr man, with the dearest and most valu- 
able life in all the creation, with the richest blood 
that ever ran in the veins of a creature, with the life 
and blood of the Son of God ; and yet you refused 
to receive and accept of this salvation, procured at so 
immense a price. I called you to partake of this 
invaluable blessing freely, ''without money and with- 
out price," and yet you slighted all these offers of 


mercy ; what remains but that my wraih should 
kindle against you in the hottest clei^ree, and fill your 
souls with exquisiie anguish and misery; you have 
refused to accept of a covenant which was sealed 
with the blood of my own Son, which w«s confirmed 
by miraculous operations of my own Spirit ; you 
have valued your sinful pleasures, and the trifles of 
this vain world, above the blood of my Son, and the 
life of your souls: It is divinely proper that divine 
vengeance should be your portion, who have rejected 
such rich treasures of divine love.' Heb. x. 28 — 31. 
*He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, 
under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer 
punisTiment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, 
who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and 
hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith 
he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and haUi done 
despite unto the spirit of grace ? For we know him 
that hath said vengeance belo^igeth unto me, I will 
repay, saith the Lord.' 

3. It is wrath that 'must avenge the afFronts and 
injuries done to the prime minister of God's govern- 
ment, and the chief messenger of his merc} ,' All 
the Piftriarchs, and the Prophets, and Angels them- 
selves, were but * servants' to bring messages of di* 
vine grace to men: and some of them in awful forms 
and appearances, represented the authority of God 
too: But the 'Son of God' is the prime minister of 
his government, and the noblest ambassador of his 
grace, and the chief deputy or vicegerent in his Fa- 
ther's kingdom. See Keb. i. 1, 2. Fsal. ii. 6, 9, 12, 

G 2 


His Father's glory and grandeur, compassion and 
love, are most sublimely exhibited in the face of 
Christ his Son, and God will not have his hitrhest 
and fairest imat>;e disgraced and affronted, without 
peculiar and sie^nal venareance. 

The great God will vindicate the honours of his 
Son Jesus, in the infinite destruction of a rebellious 
and unbelieving world: And the Son himself hath 
wrath, and just resentment ; he will vindicate his owa 
authority, and his commission of grace. He hath a 
rod of iron put into his hands, as well as a sceptre of 
mercy, and with this rod will he break to pieces re- 
bellious nations. Rev. iii. latter end. It is not fit 
that the first minister of the empire of the King of 
heaven, and the brightest image of his majesty and 
of his love, should appear always in the chs-racter of 
a Lamb, a m.eek and unresenting creature. He will 
put on the Lion when his commission of grace is end- 
ed: He is the *Lion of the tribe of Judah,' Rev. v. 5. 
And will 'rend the caul of the heart' of those unre- 
penting sinners, who have resisted his authority and 
abused his love. 

And how will the wrath of the Lamb of God pe- 
netrate the soul of sinners with intense anguish, 
when the meek and the compassionate Jesus, shall 
be commissioned and constrained to speak the lan- 
guage of resentment and divine indignation ? 

' Did you not hear of me sinners in yonder world, 
which lies weltering in flames ? Did you not read of 
me in the gospel of my grace ? Did you not learn my 
character and my salvation in the ministrations of 


my word ? Were you not told that I was appointed 
to be the Saviour of a lost world, and a minister of 
divine mercy to men ? And was there not abundant 
evidence of it by miracles and prophecies? Were you 
not told that I was exalted after my sufferings to the 
right hand of God, on purpose to "bestow repen- 
tance and remission of sins?" Acts v. 31. And 
were you not informed also, that I had a * rod of iron' 
given me to dash rebels to death? Psal. ii. Whit 
is the reason you never came to me, or submitted to 
my government, or accepted of my grace > Did you 
never hear of the threatenings that stood like drawn 
swords against those who wilfully refuse this mercy ? 
Did you think these were mere bugbears, mere 
sounding words to fright children wiih, and harm- 
less thunder that would never blast you ? Did you 
think these flashes of wrath in my word, were such 
sort of lightenings as you might safely play with, and 
flame that would never burn ? What punishments 
think you, do you deserve, Jirst for the abuse of my 
authority, and tben for the wilful and obstinate refusal 
of my grace? Is it not divinely fit and proper, my 
"wrath should awake against such heinous criminals ? 
W^here is any proper object for my resentment, if 
you are not made objects of it ? Take them, angels, 
bind them hand and foot, and cast them into utter 
darkness: Let them be tliro^vn headlong into the 
prison of hell, where fire and brimstone burn un- 
quenchably, where light, and peace, and hope can 
never come. Let them be crushed with the rod of 
iron, which the Father hath put into my hands, as 


the first rrsinister of his kingdom, as the avenger of 
his despised grace.' 

4. It is a wrath, that is ' excited by a final and ut- 
ter rejection of the last proposals of divine love.' 
Whea mercy was offered to men by the blessed God 
at fust, the discoveries were more dark and imperfect, 
there were still further discoveries to be made in fol- 
lowing ap;es : Therefore the crime and guilt of sin- 
ners in chose former days, was much less than the 
crime and guilt of those who reject this last proposal 
of mercy. There is no further edition of the cove- 
nant of i^rnce, for those who refuse this offer. Those 
who neglect Christ as he is set forth in the gospel, to 
be a sacrifice for sin, " there remains no more sacri- 
fice for them, but a certain fearful expectation of 
vengeance and fiery indignation, which shall con- 
sume the adversary." Heb. x. 26, 28. 

All the former dispensations of grace are contained 
eminently and compleated in this dispensation of the 
gospel. God can send no greater messenger than 
his own Son, and he concludes and finishes the whole 
scene and period of grace, with the gospel of 
Christ. There remains nothing but Wrath to the ut- 
termost for those who have abused this last offer of 
mercy. This was exemplified in the destruction of 
Jerusalem and the Jews, a little after they had put 
Christ to death, and rejected the salvation which he 
proposed ; and this wrath will be more terribly glo- 
rified in the final destruction of every sinner that wil- 
fully rejects the glad tidmgs of thiu salvation. 


5. It is such wrath, as * arises from the patience of 
a God, tired and worn out by the boldest iiuquities 
of men, and by a final perseverance in their rebel- 
lions.' It is the character and ^lory of God to be 
*' long-suffering, and slow to aneer." Exod. xxxiv. 
6. ** The Lord God merciful and gracious, long-suf- 
fering, and abundant in goodness and truth ;" and Je- 
sus his Son, is the minister of this his patience, and 
the intercessor for this delay of juch^^ment and venge- 
ance. He is represented as interceding one year 
after another, for the reprieve of obstinate sinners, 
and at his intercession, God the Father ' waits to be 
gracious :' But God will not wait, and delay, and 
keep silence for ever, nor will Jesus for ever plead. 
Psal. 1. 1,3, 21, 22. '* Consider this ye that forget 
God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to 
deliver." God will say then to obstinate sinners, as 
he did to the Jews of old, Jer. xv. 5, 6. ** I will 
stretch out my hand against thee and destroy thee, I 
am wetiry of repenting:" and even the abused pati- 
ence of Jesus the Saviour, shall turn into fury, when 
the ' day of recompence' shall come, and the '' day of 
vengeance which is in his heart," Isa. Ixiii. I, 4. 

O let each of us consider, ' How long have 1 made 
the grace of God wait on me ? How many messages 
of peace and pardon have I neglected ? How many 
years have I delayed to accept of this salvation, and 
made Jesus wait on an iuipenitent rebel with the 
commission of mercy in his hand, while I have re- 
fused to receive it ? Let my soul be this day avvaken- 
«d to lay hold of the covenant of grace, to submit to 


the s^ospel of Christ, lest to-morrow the days of his 
conin)ission of mercy toward me expire, lest the pa- 
tience of a God be finished, lest the abused love of a 
Saviour turn into fury, and nothing remain for me, 
but unavoidable destruction.' 

6. It is a sentence of divine wrath, which * shall 
be attended with the fullest conviction of sinners, and 
self condemnation in their own consciences.' This 
doubles the sensations of divine wrath, and enhances 
the anguish of the criminal to a high degree. 

This final unbelief and rejection of grace, is a sin 
against so much light and so much love, that how- 
ever men cheat their consciences now, and charm 
them into silence, yet at the last great day their own 
consciences shall be on the side of the Judge, when 
he pronounces wrath and damnation upon them. 
What infinite terrors will shake the soul, when there 
is not one of its own thoughts can speak peace with- 
in? When all its own inward powers, shall echo to 
tlie sentence of the Judge, and acknowledge the jus- 
tice and equity of it for ever. 

Oh who can express the agonies of pain and tor- 
ture, when the impenitent sinner shirll be awakened 
into such refiections as these? * I was placed in a land 
of light and knowledge; the light of the gospel of 
grace shone all round me ; but I winked my e} es 
against the light, and now I am plunged into utter 
and eternal darkness; I was convinced often that I 
was a sinner, and in danger of death and hell, I ^^•as 
convinced of the truth of the gospel, and the all-sufli- 
ciency of the salvation of Christ, but I loved the 


vanities of this life, I followed the appetites of the 
fiesh, and the delusive charms of a tempting world, 
I delayed to answer to the voice of Providence and 
the voice of mercy, the voice of the gospel inviting 
me to' this salvation, and the voice of Christ requir- 
ing nie to be saved. My own heart condemns me 
with ten thousand reproaches: how righteous is God 
\i\ his indignation ! How just is the resentment of the 
L.\mb of God in this day of his wrath! What clear 
and convincing and dreadful equity attends the sen- 
tence of my condemnation, and doubles the anguish 
of my soul ?' 

7. It is such wrath as * shall be executed immedi- 
ately and eternally, without one hour of reprieve, and 
without the least hope of mercy, and that through all 
the as^es to come :' For though Jesus is the Media- 
tor between God and man, to reconcile those to God 
who have broken his law, there is no mediator ap- 
pointed to reconcile those sinners to Christ, when they 
have finally resisted the grace of his gospel. There 
is no blood nor death that can atone, for the final re- 
jection of the blood of this dying Saviour. If we re- 
sist Jesus Christ the Lord, and his atonement, and 
his sacrifice, his gospel, and his salvation, there re- 
mains no more atonement for us. Let us consider 
each of these circumstances apart, and dwell a little 
on these terrors, that our hearts may be affected with 

(1.) This * wrath shall be executed immediately,' 
for the time of reprieve is come to an gi\(\. Here 
divine wisdom and justice have set the limits of di- 
ving patience, and diey reach no farther. 


(2.) It is * wrath that shall be executed without 
mercy,' because the (lay and hour of mercy is for 
ever finished, lliat belongs only to this life. The 
ch.) of grace is gof^e for ever: '* He that once made 
thcih, wiii now have no mercy upon them; and he 
that formed them will shew them no favour," Isa. 
xxvn. 11. The very mercy of the Mediator, the 
compassion of the Lamb of God, is turned into wrath 
and fury. The Lamb himself has put on the form 
of a Lion, and there is no Redeemer or Advocate to 
speak a word for them who have finally rejected Je- 
sus the only Mediator, worn out the age of his pity, 
and provoked his wrath as well as his Father's. 

(3.) It is * wrath without end,' for their souls arc 
immortal, their bodies are raised to an immortal state, 
and their whole nature being sinful and miserable, and 
immortal, they must endure a wretched and misera- 
ble immortality. This is the representation of the 
book of God, even of the New Testament, and I have 
no commission from God, either to soften these 
words of terror, 'or to shorten the term of their 


Remark 1. * What a wretched mistake is it to im- 
agine the great God is nothing else but Mercy,' and 
Jesus Christ * is nothing else but Love and salvation.' 
It is true, God has more mercy than we can imagine, 
his love is boiiudless in many of its exercises, and 
Jesus his Son, who is the image of the Father, is the 


fairest image of his love and grace. His compas- 
sions have " heights and depths, and lengths and 
breadths in them, that pass all our knowledge," Eph. 
iii. 18. But God is an universal Sovereign, a wise 
and righteous Governor : There is majesty with him 
as well as grace ; and ' Jesus is Lord of lords and 
King of kings;' he bears the image of his Father's 
justice, as well as of his Father's love; otherwise, he 
could not be the full " brightness of his glory, nor the 
express image of his person." 

And besides, the Father hath armed him with 
powers of divine vengeance, as well as with powers 
of mercy and salvation. Psal. ii. 9. He has put * the 
rod of iron' into his hand, " to dash the nations like 
a potters vessel." Rev. ii. 27. and xix. 13. He is 
the '' elect and precious corner stone laid in Zion/' 
1 Pet. ii. 6. But he is a stone that *' will bruise 
those who stumble at him," and '' those on whoni he 
shall fall, he will grind them to powder," Matth. xxi. 
42. He is a Lamb and a Lion too : He can suft'er at 
Jerusalem and mount Calvary, with silence, ' and not 
open his mouth ;' and he can roar from heaven with 
overspreading terror, and shake the v/orld with the 
sound of his anger. See that his mercy be not 

Remark 2. * The day of Christ's patience makes 
haste to an end.' Every day of neglected gr..ce has- 
tens on the hour of his wrath and vengeance, hmners 
waste their months and years in rebellion agajns his 
iove, while he waits months and years to be graci- 
ous : but Christ is all-wise, and he knows the proper 

H 2 


period of long-sufFering, and the proper moment to 
let all his wrath and resentment loose, on obstinate 
and unreclaimable sinners. Oh may every one of 
our souls awake to faith and repentance, to religion 
and righteousness, to hope and salvation, before this 
day of oilr peace be finished and gone for ever. Psal, 
ii. 12. " Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye per- 
ish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a 
little." There was once a season when he saw the 
nation of the Jews, and the people of Jerusalem, 
wasting the proposals of hib love ; they let their day 
of mercy pass away unimproved, and he foretold their 
destruction vvith tears in his eyes. Luke xix. 41, 
42. *' He bthtid the city and wept over it," alas, for 
the inhabitants who would not be saved. He was 
then a messenger of salvation, and clothed with pity 
to sinners, but in the last great day of his wrath, 
there is no place for tliese tears of compassion, no 
room for pity or forgiveness. 

Remark 3. * When we preach terror to obstinate 
sinners, we may preach Jesus Christ as well as when 
we preach love and salvation, for he is the minister 
of his Father's government both in vengeance and in 
mercy :' The Lamb hath wrath as well as grace, and 
he is to be feared as well as to be trusted ; and he 
must be represented under all the characters of dig- 
nity to which he is exalted, that * knowing the ter- 
rors of the Lord,' as well as the compassion of the 
Saviour, * we may persuade sinful men to accept of 
salvation and happiness.' 






Rev. vr. 15, 16, 17. 

Jnd the Jdngs of the earthy and the great men^ and the 
rich men, ^c, hid themselves in the dens, and in the 
rocks of the mountains ; and said to the rocks and 
mountains, fall on us, and hide us from the face of 
him that sitteth on the throne, and from the vjratb 
of the Lamb. 

IN the former discourse on this text, we have 
taken a survey of these two persons and their cha- 
racters, God and the Lamb, whose united wrath 
spreads so terrible a scene through the world at the 
great judgment-day; we have also inquired, and 
found sufficient reasons, why the anger and justice of 
God should be so severe against the sinful sons and 
daughters of men, who have wilfully broken his law, 
and refused the grace of his gospel ; and why the in- 
tlignation of the Son of God should be super-added 
to all the terrors of his Father's vengeance. 


We arc now come to tlic third and last general 
head of discourse, and that is to consider, * how 
vain will all the refuges and hopes of sinners be 
found in that dreadful day, when God and the Lamb 
shall join to manifest their wrath and indignation 
against them.' 

These hopes, and shifts, and refuges of rebellious 
and guilty creatures, are represented by a noble 
image and description in my text: *' They shall call 
to the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them, 
and to cover them from the face of him that sits up- 
on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." 
As this address to mountains and to rocks appears 
to be but a vain hoj)e in extreme distress, when a 
feeble and helpless criminal is pursued by a swift and 
mighty avenger, so vain and fruitless shall all the 
hopes of sinners be, to escape the just indignation 
and sentence of their Judge. In order to shew the 
vanity of all the refuges and shifts to which sinners 
shalh betake themselves in that day, let us spread 
abroad this sacred description of them in a para- 
phrase under the following heads. 

L Let us consider the ' rocks and mountains, as 
vast and mighty created beings, of huge figure, and 
liigh appearance, whose aid is sought in the last ex- 
tremity of distress;' and what is this but calling 
vipon creatures to help them against their Creator I 
What is it but flying to creatures to deliver and save 
them, when their offended God resolves to punish ? 
A vain refuge indeed, when God, the Almighty Ma- 
ker of all things, and Je-'Ais his Son, by whom all. 


thint^s were made, shall agree to arise and go ibrth 
against them, in their robes of judgment, and with 
their artillery of vengeance ! What created being 
dares interpose in that hour to shelter or defend a: 
condemned criminal ? What high and mighty crea- 
ture is able to afford the least security or protection ? 
The princes of the earth, and the captains, the 
kings, and heroes, and conquerors, with all their mil- 
lions of armed men, are not able to lift a hand, for 
the defence of one sinner against the anger of God 
and the Lamb. They themselves shall quake and 
shiver at the tren^endous sight, and they shall fly in- 
to the holes of the rocks like mere covvards, and shall 
join their outcries with the poor and the slave, en- 
treating the rocks and mountains to befriend them 
with shelter and safety. 

Not the highest mountains, not the hardest or the 
strongest rocks, not the most exalted or most power- 
ful persons, or things in nature can defend, when the 
God of nature resolves todestro}': When he who is 
higher than the highest, and stronger than the strong- 
est, shall pronounce destruction upon rebels, what 
creature can speak deliverance ? . 

The rocks and the mountains obey their Maker, 
they shiver in pieces at the word of his wrath, and 
will yield no relief to criminals : But man, rebellious 
man, disobeys his Maker, and calls to the rocks and 
mountains to protect him. Vain hope. Oh sinner, to 
make the most exalted creatures your friends, when 
God the Creator is your enemy. These inaninrnte 
things have never learnt disobedience to their Maker, 


ami rather than screen.a rebel from his deserved jucTg- 
ments, they will offer themselves as instruments of 
divine vengeance. 

2. Rocks and mountains in their cUfts^ and dens^ and 
ca'vernSy are sometimes considered as 'places of se- 
cresy and concealment.' My text tells us, that 
'kings and mighty men, the rich and the free man, 
as well as the poor and the slave, hid themselves in 
dens, and in the rocks of the mountains.' They 
hoped there might be some secret corner, whose 
thick shadows and darkness were sufficient to hide 
them, where the Judge might not spy or find them 
out. Vain hope for sinners to hide in the holes of 
the rocks, and the deepest caverns of the mountains, 
to escape the notice of that God, who is all eye and 
all ear, and present at once in every place of earth and 
heaven! Foolish expectation indeed, to avoid the 
notice of the Son of God, '' whose eyes are as a flame 
of fire," and shoot through the earth and its darkest. 

Read the 139th Psabn, Oh sinner, ahd then think 
if it be possible to flee from the eye of God, and to 
hide tlivself in the clefts of the rock, where his hand 
shall not find thee.— He has already ' beset thee be- 
hind and before,' and his hand already compasses thee 
round about in all thy paths. Darkness itself cannot 
cover thee ; ' the night shines as the day' before him, 
and scatters light round about the criminal that would 
hide himself from the wrath of God. Ask Jeremy 
the prophet, and he shall tell thee, that ** none can 
hide himself in secret places where God sk^l not see 


him, the God who fills heaven and earth." Jer. xxiii. 
4. He shall hunt obstinate sinners from every moun- 
tain, and out of the holes of the rocks; for his eyes 
are upon all their ways, neither their persons, nor 
their iniquities, can be hid from him. 

And, as you can never conceal yourselves from the 
sight and notice of the Judge, so neither can you 
turn your eyes away from him : You must behold 
his face in vengeance, and endure the distressing 
sight. The rays of his Majesty; in the day of his 
wriuh, shall strike through all the crannies of the 
darkest den, and pierce the deepest shade. ''Lord, 
when thy hand is lifted up they will not see ; but 
they shall see and be ashamed." Isa. xxvi. 10. 
And the face of the Lamb must be seen in all its 
unkMown terrors. Rev. i. 7. *' Behold, he comes in 
the clouds, and every eye shall see him:" The guilty 
creature, and the divine Avenger, shall meet eye to 
eye, though the creature has hid himself under 
rocks and mountains. 

3. These * rocks and mountains' are designed to 
represent, not only concealment and darkness by 
their holes and caverns, but they are known 'bul- 
warks of defence,' and 'places of security and shelter, 
by reason of their strength and thickness.' When 
the prophet would express the safety of the man who 
practises righteousness in a vicious age, Isa. xxxiii. 
16, he says, " He shall dwell on high, his place of 
defence shall be a munition of rocks." These shall 
be a bulwark round him for his guard and safety. 
When sinners therefore flee to the mountains, and 


to the rocks,, thev may be supposed to seek a thick 
covering, or a shield of defence to secure them, 
where the strokes of divine anger shall not break 
through and reach them : They trust to the solid 
protection of the rocks, and the strength of the moun- 
tains to guard them ; but these, alas ! can yield no 
shelter from the stroke of the arm of God. Should 
the rocks, Oh sinners, attempt to befriend thee, and 
surround thee with their thickest fortification, his 
wrath would cleave them asunder and pierce thee to 
the soul, with greater ease than thou canst break 
through a paper wail with the battering engines of 
war. Asli the prophet Nahum, who was acquainted 
with the njajesty of God, and he shall tell thee, how 
it *' throws down the mountain, and tears the rock 
in pieces : When his fury is poured out like fire, the 
mountains quake at him, the hills melt, the earth is 
burnt at his presence, with all that" dwell therein. 
He that "has his way in the whirlwind and in the 
storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet," what 
mountain *'can stand before his indignation?" And 
where is the rock "that can abide in the fierceness 
of his anger?" Nah. i. 2 — 6. Were the whole globe 
of the earth one massy rock, and should it yawn to 
the very centre to give thee a refuge and hiding- 
place, and then close again and surround thee with 
its solid defence, yet, when the Lord commands, the 
earth will obey the voice of him that made it ; this 
solid earth would cleave again and resign the guilty 
prisoner, and yield thee up to the sword of his justice. 
Wheresoever a God resolves to strike, safety and 


defence are impossible thing^s. The sinner must 
suffer without remedy, and without hope, who has 
provoked an Almighty God, and awakened the wrath 
©f that Saviour *'who can subdue all things to him- 

4. * Rocks and mountains' falling upon us are * in- 
struments of sudden and overwhelming death.'— ^ 
When sinners therefore call to the 'rocks and moun^ 
tains to fall upon them and cover them,' they are 
supposed to endeavour to put an end to their own 
beings by some overwhelming destruction, that they 
may not live to feel and endure the resentments of 
an affronted God, and an abused Saviour. Though 
they are just raised to life, they would fain die again ; 
but God, who calls the dead from their graves, will 
forbid the rocks and the mountains, and every crea- 
ture, to lend sinners their aid to destroy themselves* 
Sinners, in that dreadful day, shall *seek death, but 
death shall flee from them.' Their natures are now 
made immortal, and the fall of rocks and mountains 
cannot crush them to death. They must live to 
sustain the weight of divine wrath, which is heaviei; 
than rocks and mountains. 

The life which God hath now given to men in this 
mortal state, may be given up again, or thrown away 
fey the daring impiety of self-murder ; and they may 
make many creatures instruments of their own de. 
struction ; but the life which the Son of God shall 
give them, when he calls them from the dead, is ever- 
lasting ; they cannot resign their existence and im- 
mortality, tbey cannot part with it, nor can any crea*' 

I 2 


ture take it from them. They would rather die than 
see God in his majesty, or the Lamb arrayed in his 
robes of judi^ment; but the. wretches are immortaliz- 
ed ^o punishment, by the long abused majesty and 
power of God : And they must live for ever to learn 
what it is to despise the authority of a God, and to 
abuse the grace of a Saviour. Their doom is *' ever- 
lasting burnings : They have no rest day nor night, 
the smoke of their torment will ascend for ever and 
ever, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the 
presence of the Lamb." Rev. xiv. 10, IL 

Thus have we considered thos-e huge and bulky 
beings, the rocks and the mountains, in all their vast 
and mighty figures and appearances, with all their 
clefts, and dens, and caverns, for shelter and conceal- 
ment, with all their fortification and massy thickness 
for defence, and with all their power to crush and de- 
stroy mankind, and yet we find them utterly insuffi- 
cient to hide, cover, or protect guilty creatures, ia 
that great day of the wrath of God and the Lamb. 


1. ' How strangely do all the appearance^ of Christ 
to sinners, in the several seasons and dispensations of 
his grace, difter from that last great and solemn ap- 
pearance, which to them v/ill be a dispensation of 
final vengeance. He visited the world in divine vi- 
sions of old, even from the day of the sin of Adam, 
and it was to reveal mercy to sinful man ; and he 
sometimes assumed the majesty of God, to let th^ 


world know he was not to be trifled with. He visited 
the earth at his incarnation : How lowly was his state ! 
How full of grace his ministry! yet he then gave no- 
tice of this day of vengeance, when he should appear 
in his own and his Father's most awful glories. 

He visits the nations now with the word of salva- 
tion, he appears in the glass of his gospel, and in the 
ordinances of his sanctuary, as a Saviour whose heart 
melts with love, and in the language of his tenderest 
compassions, and of his dying groans, he invites sia- 
ncrs to be reconciled to an offended God: He appears 
as a Lamb made a sacrifice for sin, and as a Minister 
of his Father's mercy, offering and distributing par- 
dons to criminals. But, when he visits the world as 
a final judge, how solemn and illustrious will that ap- 
pearance be ? How terrible his countenance to all 
those who have refused to receive him as a Saviour ? 
*'Behold he cometh in flaming fire, with ten thousand 
of his angels, to render vengeance to them that" re- 
sisted his grace, and disobeyed the invitation of his 
gospel, 2 Thes- i. 7. 

Time was, when the ** Father sent forth his Son, 
not to condemn the world, but that through him the 
world might have life," John iii .17. But the time is 
coming, v/hen God shall send him* arrayed with 'Ma- 
jesty, and with righteous indignation, to condemn the 
rebellious world, and inflict upon them the pains of 
eternal death. Hast thou seen him. Oh my soul, in 
the discoveries of his mercy, fly to him with all ther 
wings of faith and love, with all the speed of desire 
and joy fly to him, receive his grace, and accept of 


bis salvation, that when the day of the wrath of the 
Lamb shall appear, thou mayest behold his counte- 
nance without terror and confusion. 

Refu 2. * How very different will the thoughts of 
sinners be in that day, from what they are at present ? 
How difterent their wishes and their inclinations?' 
And that with regard to this one terror, which my 
text describes, viz. that they shall address themselves 
to the rocks and mountains for shelter, and fly into 
the dens and caverns of the earth for concealment 
and safety. Let us survey this in a few particulars. 

Sinners, whose 'looks were once lofty and disdain- 
ful,' whose eyes were exalied in pride, their moutU 
set against the heavens, and their hearts haughty and 
full of scorn, they shall be humbled to the dust of 
the earth, they shall creep into the hiding-places of 
the moles and the bats, and thrust their heads into 
holes and caverns, and dens of desolation, at the ap- 
pearance of God their Creator in flaming fire, and 
the Son of God their Judge ; for he is the avenger 
of his own and his Father's injured honours. 

Sinners who were 'once fond of their idols and 

their sensual delights,' who made idols to themselves 

of every agreeable creature, and gave it that place in 

their hearts which belougs only to God, they shall 

be horribly confounded in that day, when God shall 

appear in his Majesty, to shake the earth to the centre, 

and to burn the surface of it with all its bravery. 

This is nobly described by the prophet Isaiah, chap. 

the 2d from 10 — 2L "In that day shall a man cast 

his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they 


made, each one for himself to worship, to the moles 
and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rock, and 
into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, 
and for the glory of his Majesty, when he ariseth to 
shake terribly the earth." 

Sinners who once ' could not tell how to spend a 
day without gay company,' those sons and daughters 
of mirth, who turned their midnights into noon, with 
the splendor of their lamps, and the rich and shining 
furniture of their palaces, those noisy companions of 
riot, who made the streets of the city resound with 
their rhidnight revels, they shall now fly to the soli- 
tary caverns of the rocks, and would be glad to dwell 
there in darkness and silence for ever, if they might 
but avoid the wrath of a provoked God, and the 
countenance of an abused Saviour. Tiiey would 
fain be shut up for ever from day-light, lest they 
should see the face of an Almighty enemy, whose 
name and honour have been reproached, in their 
songs of lewd jollity and prophaneness. 

Sinners who once ' were fond of liberty in the wild- 
est sense,' and could not bear that any restraints 
should be laid upon their persons or their wishes, who 
never could endure the thought of a^ confinement to 
their closets, for one half hour to converge with God, 
or with their own souls there, they now call aloud to 
the rocks and the mountains to immure them ix)und, 
as a refuge from the eye of their Judge. They were 
once perpetually roving abroad, and gadding through 
all the gay scenes of sensuality, in quest of new and 
liowery pleasures, but now they beg to be in)prlson- 


ed for ever in the dens and caves of the eardi; the 
deepest and most dismal caves are their most ardent 
wishes, that they might never see the countenance 
of their divine Avenger, nor feel the weight of his 

Sinners who ' heretofore thought themselves and 
their deeds of darkness secure enough from the eye 
of God, and from the strokes of his justice,' while they 
revelled in their common habitations, those, who 
even under the open sky could defy the Almighty, 
could laugh at his threatnings, and mock the prophe- 
cies of his vengeance, now they can find no caverns, 
deep or dark enough, to hide them from his sight; 
his lightenings penetrate the hardest rocks, and shine 
into the deepest solitudes: There is no screen or 
shelter thick and strong enough to stand between 
God and them, and to cover and shield them from 
his thunder. They call now to the mountains and 
the rocks to be an eternal screen ; but the rocks and 
the mountains are deaf to their cry : Then shall they 
remember, with unknov/n regret and anguish, those 
days of grace, when Christ Jesus, who is now their 
Judge, offered himself to become a screen to them, 
and a defence from the anger of God their Creator: 
But they rejected this offered grace. Pie would have 
been the rock of their safety, where ihey should have 
found refuge from the fiery threatnings of the broken 
law, and the majesty of an offended God: The F^ir- 
ther himself had appointed him for this kind office to 
repenting sinners; and perhaps he gave Moses a type or 
cniblem of it, whep. hecomrnanded him tohidehimseif 


in the clefts of the rock, to secure him from destruc- 
lion, while the burning blaze of his glory passed by, 
Kxod. xxxiii. 22. And Isaiah the prophet had fore- 
told, that this Jesus should be as *'the shadow of a 
great rock," to shelter them from the beams of the 
wrath of God; but they refused this blessing, they 
renounced this refuge; and now they find there is no 
other rock sufiicient to become a shelter from the 
stroke of his Almighty arm, or a sufficient shadow 
from tie burning vengeance. 

Sinners, who ' once over-rated their flesh and 
blood, and loved it with inhnite fondness,' who treat- 
ed their fleshly appetites with excessive nicety and 
elegance, and affected a humourous delicacy in every 
thing round about them, would now gladly creep into 
the mouldy caverns of the rocks, they would be glad 
to hide and defile themselves in the dark and noisome 
grottos of the earth, and squeeze their bodies into 
the rough and narrow clefts, to shield themselves 
from the indignation of him that sits upon the throne, 
and of the Lamb. 

Those who ' once were so tender of this mortal 
life a'Ad limbs,' and could not think of bearing the 
least hardship for the sake of virtue and piety, are 
now wishing to have tliose delicate limbs of theirs 
crushed by the fall of rocks and mountains : They 
wish earnestly to have their lives and their souls de- 
stroyed for ever, and their whole natures buried in 
desolation and d^ath, if they might but avoid the 
tternal agonies and torments that are prepared for 
them. Now thpy long fi)r cavprns, ar.d graves, to 


hide them for ever from the justice of God, whose 
authority they have despised, and from the wrath of 
a Saviour whose mercy they have impiously renounc- 

Look forward, Oh my soul, to this awful and 
dreadful hour-, survey this treiiiendous scene of con- 
fusion, when sinners shall run counter to all their for^ 
mer principles and wishes, and pass a quite different 
judgment upon their sinful delights, from what they 
were wont to do in the days of this life of "'anity» 
Learn, Oh my soul, to judge of things more agreea- 
bly to the appearances of that day: Never canst thou 
set the flattering pleasures of sense, and the joys of 
sin, in a truer and juster view, than in the light of this 
glorious and tremendous judgment. 

Ref, 3, * How great and dreadful must the dis- 
tress of creatures be, when they cannot bear to seq 
the face of God their Creator V How terrible must be 
the circumstances of the sons of men, when they can- 
not endure to see the face of the Son of God, but 
would fain hide themselves from the sight under rocks 
and mountains? How wretched must their state be, 
who avoid the face of the blessed God with horror, 
which the holy angels ever behold with most intense 
delight, and which the saints rejoice in as their high- 
est happiness? It is their heaven to see God, and be- 
hold the glory of his Son Jesus, Matth. v. 8. John 
xvii. But this is the very hell of sinners in that 
dismal hour, and will fill their souls with such inex- 
pressible anguish, that they call to the rocks and 
mountains to hide them from the sight,- Dreadful 


and deplorable is their case indeed, who cannot en* 
dure to see the countenance of Jesus the Son of God, 
Jesus the Saviour of men, the copy of the Father's 
glory, and the image of his beauty and love. They 
cannot bear to see that Jesus who is the chiefest often 
thousands, and altogether lovely ; they fly from that 
blessed countenance, which is the ornament, and the 
joy of all the holy and happy creation : That blessed 
countenance is become the terror and confusion of 
impenitent and guilty rebels. 

And what shall I do, if I should be found amongst 
this criminal number, in that great day ? If I look at 
the wisdom and the righteousness of God, these will 
reflect the keenest rays of horror and anguish upon 
my soul, for it is that wisdom, and that righteous- 
ness, that have joined to prepare the salvation which 
I have rejected, and therefore now that wise and righ- 
teous God seeth it proper and necessary to punish 
me with everlasting sorrows. If I look at the poller 
of God, it is a dreadful sight: Eternal and Almigh- 
ty power, that can break through rocks and moun- 
tains, to inflict vengeance upon the guilty, and stands 
engaged by his honour to break my rebellious spirit 
with unknown torments. If I look at his goodness or 
his love, it is love and goodness that I have despised 
and abused, and it is now changed into divine fury. 
If I look at ih^ face of Jesus ^ and find there the cor- 
respondent features of his Fathe", I shall then hate to 
see it — for this very reason, because it bears his Fa- 
ther's image, who is so terrible to my thoughts. I 

K 2 


shall neither be able to bear the sii^ht of God or of his 
fairest copy, that is, Jesus his Son, because I am so 
shamefully unlike them both, and besides, I have 
affronted their majesty, and despised their mercy. 

How painful and smarting will be the reflection of 
my heart in that day, when I shall remember, that 
Jesus called out to me from heaven, by the messen- 
gers of his grace, and said, '' Behold me, behold 
me, look unto me from the ends of the earth, and 
be saved :" But now he is armed with a commis- 
sion of vengeance, and he strikes terror and exquisite 
pain into my soul with every frown, so that I shall 
wish to be forever ' hid from the f\ice of the Lamb, 
for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall 
be able' to endure this wrath, to stand before his 
thunder, or bear the lightning of this day ? Alas, 
how miserable must I be by an everlasting necessi- 
tv, if I cannot bear the countenance of God and 
Christ, which is the spring of unchangeable happi- 
ness to all the saints and the blessed angels ? Oh 
may I timely secure the love of my God, and gain 
an interest in the favour and salvation of the bless- 
ed Jesus ! Here, Oh Lord, at thy foot I lay down 
all the weapons of my former rebellions ; I implore 
thy love through the interest of thy Son, the great 
Mediator ; Let me see the light of thy countenance, 
and the smiles of thy face : Let me see a reconciled 
God, and let him tell me that my sins are all for- 
given ; then shall I not be afraid to meet the coun- 
tenance of him that sits upon the throne, or the 


Lamb, when Christ shall return from heaven, to 
punish the impenitent rebels against divine grace. 

Rejl, 4. * How hopele-,s, as well as distressed, is 
the case of sinners in that day, when they are driv- 
en to this last extremity, to seek help from the rocks 
und the mountains ?' It is the last, but the fruitless 
refuge' of a frighted and perishing creature: The 
rocks iuid mountains refuse to help them ; they will 
not crush to death those wretches, whom the justice 
of God has doomed to a painful immortality, nor 
will they conceal or shelter those obstinate rebels, 
whom the Son of God has raised out of their graves, 
to be exposed to public shame and punishment. 
Those high and hollow rocks, those dismal dens 
and caverns, dark as midnight, those deep and 
gloomy retreats of melancholy and sorrow, which they 
shunned with the utmost aversion, and could hard- 
ly bear to think of them without horror here on earth, 
are now become their only retreat and shelter ; but 
it is a very vain and hopeless one. 

When I see such awful appearances in nature, 
huge and lofiy rocks hanging over my head, and at 
every step of my approach they seem to nod upon 
me with overwhelming ruin, when my curiosity 
searches far into their hollow clifts, their dark and 
deep caverns of solitude and desolation, methinks 
while I stand amongst them, I can hardly think my- 
self in safety, and at best they give a sort of solemn 
and dreadful delight : Let me improve the scene to 
religious purposes, and raise a divine meditation. 
Am I one of those wretches, who shall call to tliese 


huge impending rocks to fall upon me ? Am I that 
guilty and miserable creature, who shall entreat 
these mountains to cover me from him that sits on 
the throne and the Lamb ? Am I prepared to meet 
the countenance of the blessed Jesus the Judge in 
that day ? Have I such an acquaintance with the 
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, 
such a holy fiiith in his mediation, such a sincere 
love to him, and such an unfeigned repentance of all 
my sins, that I can look upon him as my friend and 
my refuse, and a friend infinitely better than rocks 
and mountains, for he not only screens me from the 
divine anger, but introduces me into the Father's 
love, and places me in his blissful presence forever ? 
Rtji. 5. ^What hideous and everlasting mischief 
is contained in the nature of sin, especially sin against 
the gospel of Christ, against the methods of grace, 
and the offers of salvation, which exposes creatures to 
such exticme distress?' The fairest and the most 
flattering iniquity, what beautiful colours soever it 
may put on in the hour of temptation, yet it carries 
all this hidden mischief and terror in the bosom of it, 
for It frights the creature from the sight of his Creator 
and his Saviour, and makes him fly to every vain re- 
fuge. Adam and Eve, the parents of our race, when 
they lost their innocence and became criminals, fled 
from the presence of God, Vv'ho they conversed with 
before in holy friendship. Gen. iii. 8. ' They hid 
themselves among the trees of Paradise,' and the 
thickest shadows of the garden; but the eye and the 
voice of God reached them there : The curse found 


them out, though that was a curse allayed with the 
promised blessing of a Saviour, Guilt will work in 
the conscience, and tell us, that 'God is angry,' and 
the next thought is, 'where shall I hide myself from 
an angry God?' But when the mercy of God has 
tan;Tht us where we may hide ourselves, even under 
the shadow of the cross of his Son, and we refuse to 
make him our refuge, there remains nothing but a 
final horror of soul, and a hopeless address to rocks 
and mountains, to hide us from an offended God, 
and a provoked Saviour. 

Whensoever, Oh my soul, thou shalt find or feel 
some flattering iniquity alluring thy senses, making 
court to thy heart, and ready to gain upon thy inward 
wishes, remember the distress and terror of heart 
that sinners must undergo in the great and terrible 
day of the Lord. Think of the rocks and mountains 
which the\ vainly call upon to befriend them, to 
shield them from the vengeance of that almighty arm 
which is provoked by sin, to make his creatures mi- 
serable. Remember, Oh my soul, and fear; remem- 
ber and resist the vile temptation, and stand afiir 
off from that practice, which will make thee afraid 
to see the face c^f God. 

Reji. 6. 'Of what infinite importance is it then to 
sinners, to gain a humble acquaintance and friendship 
with the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of 
the world, that we may be able with comfort, to be- 
hold the face of him that sits on the throne in that 
day.' Which of us can say, 'I am not a sinner, 1 
am not guilty before God ?' And which of us then 


has the courage and hardiness to declare, *I have no 
need of a Saviour ?' And is diere any one amongst 
lis, who hath not yet fied for refuge to Jesus our only 
and sufficient hope? There is a protection provided 
against a provoked God, but there is none against a 
neglected and abused Saviour: I mean, where this 
neglect and abuse is final and unrepented. Oh, how- 
solicitous should every soul be, in a matter of this 
divine moment, this everlasting importance ? What 
words of compassion shall we use, what words of 
awakening terror, to put sinners in mind of their ex- 
treme danger, if they neglect the only security which 
the gospel has appointed ? What language of fear 
and importunity shall we make use of, to hasten you 
Oh sinners, to the acquaintance, the faith and the 
love, of Jesus the Saviour, that you may behold his 
face, and the face of the Father, with serenity and joy 
in the last day ? Give yourselves up to him then with- 
out further delay, as your teacher, your high-priest, 
} our reconciler, your Lord and king. His blessed 
offices are the only chambers of protection, when 
Gfxl shall arise to burn the world, and to avenge him- 
self on his enemies that will not be reconciled. 

Reji, 7. Let us take occasion from my text, also 
to meditate on the 'happy circumstances of true 
Christians, in that day of terror:' Behold the Jud^e 
appears, he cometh in the clouds sorrounded with 
armies of avenging angels, the ministers of his in- 
dignation; he ridttli on a chariot of flaming fire, the 
earth w ith all its mc^untains melt like wax at the pre- 
seiicc of the Lord, the fields and the forests become 


one spacious blaze, the sea grows dry and forsakes 
its shores, and rivers flee away at his lightening; the 
rocks are broken and shivered at the appearance of 
his majesty, the tombs are thrown open, and with 
terrible dismay shall the graves give up their dead ; 
the pyramids of brick and stone, moulder and sink 
into dust, the sepulchres of brass and marble yield 
np their royal prisoners, and all the captives of death 
awake and start into life, at the voice of the Son of 
God. Amidst all these scenes of surprise and hor- 
ror, with how serene a countenance, and how peaceful 
a soul, do the saints awake from their beds of earth;* 
Calm and serene among all these confusions they 
arise from their long slumber, and go to meet their 
returning Saviour and their friend. They have seen 
him in the glass of his gospel, submitted to his laws, 
and rejoiced in his grace, and they now delight to see 
him face to face in his glory. They have seen him 
vested with his commission of mercy, they have 
heard and received his message of goodness and love, 
and they cannot but rejoice to see him coming to 
fuilil his last promiots. They have cheeifully sub- 
jected themselves to his government here on earth, 
they have followed him in paths of holiness, through 
the wilderness of this world; and what remains, but 
that they be publicly acknowledged by Jesus the 
Judge of all, ^nd follow him up to the place of bles- 
sedness which he hath prepared for them. 

Perhaps some of these holy ones, in the days of the 
flesh, were banished from the cities and the societies 
of men for the sake of Christ, they were driven out 


from their native towns, and forced to seek a shelter 
in solitary Mens and caves' among rocks and moun- 
tains, *'to wander through desarts in sheep-skins and 
goat-skins, destitute, afRicted, tormented," Heb. xi. 
51. They made the clefts of the rock and caverns 
of the earth their refuge from the face of their cruel 
persecutors: The mountains and rocks sheltered 
them from the wrath of princes, and the dark grottos 
of the earth, and the dens of wild beasts, concealed 
them from the rage of men, from the sword of the 
mighty ; but now the scene is gloriously changed, 
the martyrs and holy confessors awaking from their 
graves, exult and triumph in the smiles of their 
Judge, and receive public honours before the whole 
creation of God. They behold the infinite conster- 
nation of haughty tyrants and persecuting princes, 
of proud generals and bloody captains in that day : 
They hear them *call to rocks and mountains to hide 
them from, the face of him that sits upon the throne 
and the Lamb.' The authority and regal honour of 
the emperors of the earth, hath long slept in the dust, 
but it is lost there for ever; their glory shall not awake 
nor arise with them : Behold the mighty sinners who 
have been the enemies of Christ, or negligent of his 
salvation, how they creep affrighted out of their shat- 
tered marbles, and leave all that pomp and pride of 
death in ruins, to appear before God with shame and 
everlasting contempt. The men of arms, the captains 
and sons of valour, whose swords lay under their 
heads, uith their trophies and titles spread around 
them, shall raise their heads up from the dust, with 


Utmost affris:ht and anguish of spirit : Their courage 
fails them before the face of Jesus the Lord and Jud;^e 
of the whole creation. They would fly to the com- 
mon refuge of slaves, they shrink into the holes of the 
rocks, and call to the mountains to screen and pro- 
tect them : *and every bond-man, and every free- 
man,' who have not known nor loved God and Christ, 
are plunged into extremest distress; but the humble 
Christian is serene and joyful, and lifts up his head 
with courage and delight, in the midst of these scenes 
of astonishment and dismay. 

'He is come, he is come, saith the saint, even that 
Lord Jesus, whom I have seen, v\ horn I have knwwn 
and loved in the davs of my mortal life, whom I i; .ve 
long waited for in the dust of death; he is come to 
reward all my labours, to wipe away all my sorrows, 
to iinish my faith, and turn it into sight, to fulfil all 
my hopes and his own promises ; be is come to de- 
liver me for ever, from all my enemies, and to bear 
me to the place which he has prepared for those that 
love him, and long for his appearance. 

* O blessed be the God of grace, who hath con- 
vinced me of the sins of my nature, and the sins of 
my life in the days of my flesh; who hath discovered 
to me the danger of a guilty and sinful state, hath 
shewn me the commission of mercy in the hands of 
his Son, hath pointed i:ie to the Lamb of God, who 
was offered as a sacrifice to take away the sins of 
men, and hath inclined me to receive him in all his 
divine characters and offices, and to follow the Cap- 
tain of my salvation through all the labours and dan- 

L 2 


gers of life. I have trusted him, I have loved him, 
I have endeavoured, though under many frailties, to 
honour and obey him, and I can now behold his face 
without terror : While the mighty men of the earth 
tremble with amazement, and call to the rocks and 
mountains to hide them from his face, I rejoice to sec 
him in his robes of judgment, for he is come to pro- 
nounce me righteous in the face of men and angels, 
to declare me a good and faithful servant before the 
whole creation, to ^et the crown of victory on my 
head, to take me to heaven with him, that 'where he 
is I may be also to behold his glory,' and to partake 
for ever of the blessings of his love.' Amen. 


— «> — 

Rev. xxii. 25. 

)lncl there shall be no Night there. 

LENGTH of night and over-spreading darkness- 
in the winter season, carries so many inconveniencies 
with it, that it is generally esteemed a most uncom- 
fortable part of our time. Though night and day 
necessarily succeed each other all the year, by the 
wise appointment of God in the course of nature, by- 
means of the revolution of the heavenly bodies, or 
rather of this earthly globe, yet the night-season is 
neither so delightful nor so useful a part of life, as 
the duration of day-light. It is the voice of all nature, 
as well as the word of Solomon, *' light is sweet, and 
a pleasant thing to enjoy the sun-beams," Light 
gives a glory and beauty to every thing that is visible, 
and shews the face of nature in its most agreeable co- 
Jours ; but night, as it covers all the visible worldly 
with one dark and undistinguishing vail, is less pleas- 
ing to all the animal parts of the creation. Therefore 
as hell and the place of punishment is called * utter 
darkness' in Scripture, so heaven is represented as a 
mansion of 'glory,' as the ^inheritance of rhe saints 
in light:' And this light is constant without int^- 


ruption, and everlasting, or without end : So my 
text expresses it, 'there shall be no night there.' 

Let it be observed, that in the language of the holy- 
writers, * light' is often ascribed to intellectual be- 
ings, and is used as a metaphor to imply * knowledge, 
and holiness, and joy.' * Knowledge' as the beauty 
and excellency of the 'mind,' 'holiness' as the best 
regulation of the ♦ will,' and 'joy' as the harmony of 
our best affections in the possession of what we love : 
.And in opposition to these, * ignorance, iniquity and 
sorrow,' are represented by the metaphor of 'dark- 
ness.' Then we are in 'darkness' in a spiritual sense, 
when the understanding is beclouded or led into mis- 
take, or when the will is perverted or turned away 
from God and holiness, or when the most uncomfort- 
able affections prevail in the soul. I might cite parti- 
cular texts of Scripture to exemplify all this. And 
when it is said, 'there shall be no night in heaven,* 
it may be very well applied in the spiritual sense ; 
there shall be no errors or mistakes among the blessed, 
no such ignorance as to lead them astray, or to make 
them uneasy ; the will shall never be turned aside 
from its pursuit of holiness, and obedience to God; 
nor shall the affections ever be ruffled with any thmg 
that may administer grief and pain. Clear and un- 
erring knowledge, unspotted holiness, and everlast- 
ing joy, shall be the portion of all the inhabitants of 
the upper world.- These are more common subjects 
of discourse. 

But I chuse rather at present to consider this word 
NipHT, in its literal sense, and shall endeavour to 


represent part of the blessedness of the heavenly 
state, under this special description of it. * There 
is no night there'. 

Now, in order to pursue this design, let us take 
a brief survey of the several e'uiis or inconvenu'nces 
which attend the night, or the season of darkness 
here on earth, and bhew how far the heavenly world 
is removed, and free from all manner of inconveni- 
ence of this kind. 

1. Though night be the season of sleep for the 
relief of nature, and for our refreshment after the la- 
bours of the day, yet * it is a certain sign of the weak- 
ness and weariness of nature, when it wants such 
refreshments, and such dark seasons of relief.' But 
there is no night in heaven. Say, O ye inhabitants 
of that vital world, are ye ever weary ? Do your na- 
tures know any such weakness ? Or are your holy 
labours of such a kind, as to expose you to fatigue, 
or to tire your spirits? The blessed above * mount up 
towards God as on eagles wings, they run at the 
command of God and are not weary, they walk on 
the hills of paradise and never faint,' as the Prophet 
Isaiah expresses a vigorous and pleasurable state. 
Chap. xl. ver. last. 

There are no such animal bodies in heaven, whose 
natural springs of action can be exhausted or weak- 
ened by the business of the day : There is no flesh 
and blood there, to complain of weariness, and to 
want rest. O blessed state, where our faculties shall 
be so happily suited to our work, that we shall never 
feel ourselves weary of it, nor fatigued by it. 


And, as there is no weariness, so there is no sleep- 
ing there. Sleep was not made for the heavenly 
state. Can the spirits of the just ever sleep, under 
the full blaze of divine glory, under the incessant 
communications of divine love, under the perpetual 
influences of the grace of God the Father, and of Je- 
sus the Saviour, and amidst the inviting confluence 
of every spring of blessedness. 

2. Another inconvenience of night, near akin t® 
the former, is, that ' business is interrupted by it, 
partly for want of light to perform it, as well as for 
want of strength and spirits to pursue it.' This is 
constantly visible in the successions of labour and re- 
pose here on earth ; and the darkness of the night 
is appointed to interrupt the course of labour, and 
the business of the day, that nature may be recruit- 
ed. But the business of heaven is never interrupt- 
ed ; there is everlasting light and everlasting strength. 
Say, ye blessed spirits on high, who join in the ser- 
vices which are performed for God and the Lamb 
there, ye who unite all your powers in the worship 
and homage that is paid to the Father and to the Son, 
ye that mingle in all the joyful conversation of that 
divine and holy Assembly, say, is there foimd any 
useless hour there? Do your devotions, your duties 
and your joys, ever suffer such an entire interruption 
of rest and silence, as the season of darkness on earth 
necessarily creates amongst the inhabitants of our 


The living creatures * which are represented by 
John the Apostle, in Rev. iv. whether they signify 
saints or angels, yet they were ' full of eyes' that never 
slumber; * they rest not clay nor night;' this is 
spoken in the lans^uage of mortals, to signify, that 
they are never interrupted by any change of seasons, 
or intervening darkness in the honours they pay to 
God : They are described as ever saying, *' Holy, 
holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, 
and is to come." And the same sort of expression 
is used concerning the saints in heaven. Rev. vii. 
15. *' They who came out of great tribulation, and 
have washed their robes, and made them white in 
the blood of the Lamb, they are before the throne 
of God, and serve him day and night in his temple," 
i. e. they constantly serve or worship him in his 
holy temple in heaven. Perhaps the different orders 
and ranks of them in a continual succession, are 
ever doing some honours to God. As there is no 
night there, so there is no cessation of their services, 
their worship, and their holy exercises, in one form 
or another, throughout the duration of their being. 

Our pleasures here on earth are short-lived : If 
they are intense, nature cannot bear them long, any 
more than constant business and labour : And, if 
our labours and our pleasures should happily join 
and mingle here on earth, which is not always the 
case, yet night compels'us to break off the pleasing 

• The word Za'a, which is translated beasts, signifies only animals or 
living creatures, and does not carry with it so mean and so disagreeable an 
iUea SIS the word beasts in English. 


labour, and we must rest from the most delightful 
business. Happy is that region on high, were busi- 
ness and pleasure are for ever the same among all 
the inhabitants of it, and there is no pause or entire 
cessation of the one or the other. Tell me, ye warm 
and lively Christians, when your hearts are sweetly 
and joyfully engaged in the worship of God, in holy 
conversation, or in any pious services here on earth, 
how often you have been forced to break off these 
celestial entertainments by the returning night > 
But in the heavenly state there is everlasting active 
service, with everlasting delight and satisfaction. 

In that blessed w^orld there can be no idleness, no 
inactivity, no trifling intervals to pass away time, no 
vacant or empty spaces in eternal life. Who can be 
idle under the immediate eye of God? Who can tri- 
fle in the presence of Christ ? Who can neglect the 
pleasurable work of heaven, under the sweet influ- 
ences of the present Deity, and under the smiles of 
his countenance, who approves all their work and 
worship ? 

3. As in our present world * the hours of night' 
are unactive if we sleep, so * they seem long and 
tedious when our eyes are wakeful, and sleep flies 
from us.' Perhaps we hear the clock strike one hour 
after another, with wearisome longings for the next 
succeeding hour: We wish the dark season at an 
end, and we long for the approach of morning, wc 
grow impatient for the dawning of the day. But in 
heaven, yc spirits who have dwelt longest there, can 
ye remember one tiresome or tedious hour, through aU 


the years of your residence in that country ? Is there 
not eternal wakeluhiess among all the blessed ? Can 
any of you ever indulge a slumber? Can you sleep 
in heaven ? i^an you want it, or wish for it ? No, 
fur that world is all vital and sprightly for ever. 
When we leave this fiesh and blood, farewel to all 
the tedious measures of time, farewel tiresome dark- 
ness ; our whole remaining duration is life and light, 
vital activity and vigour, attended w^ith everlasting 
holiness and joy. 

4. While \Ye are here on earth, * the darkness of 
the night often exposes us to the danger of losing 
our way, of wandering into confusion, or falling in- 
to mischief.' When the sun-beams have withdrawn 
their light, and midnight clouds over-spread the 
heaven, we cannot see our [>ffth before us, we can- 
not pursue our proper course, nor secure ourselves 
from stumbling. How many travellers have been 
betrayed by the thick shadows of the night, into mis- 
taken ways or pathless deserts, into endless mazes 
among thorns and briars, into bogs, and pits, and 
precipices, into sudden destruction and death ? But 
there are no dangers of this kind in the heavenly 
world : Ail the regions of paradise are for ever illu- 
minated by the glory of God: The light of his coun- 
tenance shines upon every step that we shall take, 
and brightens ail our way. We shall walk in the 
light of God, and under the blessed beams of the Son 
of righteousness, and we are secured for ever against 
wandermg, and against every danger of tripping or fall- 
ing in our course. ' Our feet may stumble on the dark 

M 2 


mountains here below,' but there is no stumbling- 
block on the hills of paradise, nor can we go astray 
from our God or our duty. The paths of that coun- 
try are all pleasure, and ever-livina^ day-light shines 
upon them without end. Happy beings who dwell 
or travel there ! 

5. ' In the night we are exposed here on earth, to 
the violence and plunder of wicked men, whether 
we are abroad or at home.' There is scarce any 
safety now a-days to those who travel in the night, 
and even in our own habitations there is frequent 
fear and surprise. At that season, the sons of mis- 
chief * dig through houses in the dark, which they 
had marked for themselves in the day-4ime : They 
lurk in corners to seize the innocent, and to rob him' 
of his possessions. But in the heavenly world there 
is no dark hour; there is nothing that can encour- 
age such mischievous designs ; nor are any of the 
sons of violence, or the malicious powers of dark- 
ness, suffered to have an abode or refuge in that 
country. No surprise nor fear belongs to the inhabi- 
tants of those regions. Happy souls, who spend all 
their life in the light of the countenance of God, and 
are for ever secure from the plots and mischievous 
devices of the wicked ! 

While we dwell here below, amongst the chang- 
ing seasons of light and darkness, what daily care is 
taken to shut the doors of our dwellings against the 
men of mischief ? What solicitude in a time of war to 
keep the gates of our towns and cities well secured 
against all invasion of enemies ? * Every man with 


his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the 
nip^ht.' But in that blessed world there is no need of 
such defences; no such guardian cares to secure the 
inhabitants. ' The gates of that city shall not be 
shut by day, and there is no night there.' There perpetual day-light, and the gates are ever 
open to receive new-comers from our world, or for 
the conveyance of orders and messages to and fro 
from the throne through all the dominions of God 
and of the Lamb. Blessed are the inhabitants of that 
country, where there are no dangers arising from any 
of the wicked powers of darkness, nor any dark mi- 
nute to favour their plots of mischief. 

6. The ' time of night and darkness is the time 
of the concealment of secret sins.' Shameful iniqui- 
ties are then practised amongst men, because the 
darkness is a cover to them. *' The eye of the 
adulterer watches for the twilight, saying, no eye 
shall see me," Job xxiv. 15. 'In the black and 
dark night' he hopes for concealment as well as the 
thief and the murderer, ** and they that are drunk- 
en, are drunken in the night," 1 Thes. v. 7. The 
hours of darkness are a temptation to these iniqui- 
ties, and the shadows of the evening are a vail to co- 
ver them from the sight of men : They find a screen 
behind the curtains of the night, and a refu.Q;e in thick 
darkness. But in the heavenly world there is no 
temptation to such iniquities, no defilement can gain 
an entrance there, nor could it find any vail or cover- 
ing. The regions of light, and peace, and holy love, 
^re never violated with such scenes of villany and 


guilt. No secret sins can be committed there, nor 
can they hope for any screen to defend them from the 
eye of God and the Lamb, * whose eyes are like a 
iiame of lire.' The light of God shines round every 
creature in that country, and there is not a saint or 
angel there, that desires a covering from the sight 
of God, nor would accept of a vail or screen to in- 
terpose between him and the lovely glories of divine 
holiness and grace. To behold God, and to live un- 
der the blessings of his eye, is their everlasting and 
chosen joy. O that our worldvvere more like it ! 

7. When the night returns upon us here on eartli, 
* the pleasures of sight vanish and are lost.' Know- 
ledge is shut out at one entrance in a great degree, 
and one of our senses is withheld from the spread- 
ing beauties and glories of this lower creation, al- 
most as though we were deprived of it, and were 
grown blind for a season. 

It is true, the God of nature has appointed the 
moon and stars to relieve the darkness at some sea- 
sons, that when the sun is withdrawn, half the world 
at those hours may not be in confusion : And by the 
inventions of men, we are furnished with lamps and 
candles to relieve our darkness within doors : But if 
we stir abroad in the black and dark night, instead 
of the various and delightful scenes of the creation 
of God in the skies and the fields, we are presented 
with an universal blank of nature, and one of the 
great entertainments and satisfactions of this life, is 
quite taken away from us. But in heaven, the glo- 
ries of that world are for ever in view : The beau- 


teous scenes and prospects of the hills of priradise are 
never hidden : we shall there conLinually behold a 
rich variety of ' things which eye hath not seen on 
earth, which ear hath not heard, and which the heart 
of man hath not conceived.' Say, ye souls in para- 
dise, ye inhabitants of that glorious world, is there 
any loss of pleasure by your absence from those 
works of God which are visible here on earth, while 
you are for ever elitertained with those brighter 
works of God in the upper worldC while every cor- 
ner of that /Country is enlightened by the glory of 
God himself, and while the Son of God with all his 
beams of grace shines for ever upon it. 

8. It is another unpleasing circumstance of the 
night season, ^ that it is the coldest part of time.' 
When the sun is sunk below the earth, and its beams 
are hidden from us, its kindly and vital heat, as well 
as its light, are removed from one side of the globe; 
aiKi this gives a sensible uneasiness in the hours of 
michiight, to those who are not well provided with 
warm accommodations. 

And I might add also, It is too often night with 
us in a spiritual sense, while wc dwell here on earth : 
Our hearts are cold as well as dark : How seldom do 
we feel that. fervency of spirit in religious duties 
which God requires ? How cool is our love to the 
greatest and the best of beings? How languid and 
indiiTerent are our alTections to the Son God, the 
chiefest often thousand, and altogether lovely ? And 
how much doth the devotion of our souls v.aut its 
proper ardour and vivacity •? 


But when the soul is arrived at heaven, we shall 
be all warm and fervent in our divine and delight- 
ful work. As there shall be nothing painful to the 
senses in that blessed climate, so there shall not be 
one cold heart there, nor so much as one lukewarm 
worshipper ; for we shall live under the immediate 
rays of God who formed the light, and under the 
kindest influences of ' Jesus the Son of righteous- 
ness.' We shall be made like his angels who are 
most active spirits, and ' his ministers' who *' are 
flames of fire." Psal. civ. 3. Nor shall any dulness 
or indilFerency hang upon our sanctified powers and 
passions : They shall be all warm and vigorous in 
their exercise, amidst the holy enjoyments of that 

In the 9th and last place, as night is the season 
appointed for sleep, ^ so it becomes a constant peri- 
odical emblem of death, as it returns every evening.' 
Sleep and midnight, as I have shewn before, are no 
seasons of labour or activity, nor of delight in the 
visible things of this world : It is a dark and stupid 
scene wherein we behold nothing with truth, though 
we are sometimes deceived and deluded by dream- 
ing visions and vanities : Night, and the slumbers 
of it, are a sort of shorter death and burial, inter- 
posed betw^een the several daily scenes and transact- 
ons of human life. But in heaven, as there is no 
sleeping, there is no dying, nor is there any thing 
there that looks like death. Sleep, the image or em- 
blem of death, is for ever banished from that world. 
All is vital activity there : Every power is immor^ 


tal, and every thing that dwells there is for ever 
alive. There can be no death, nor the image of it, 
where the ever-living God dwells and shines with his 
kindest beams; his presence maintains perpetual vi- 
tality in every soul, and keeps the new creature in its 
youth and vigour fur ever. The saints shall never 
have reason to mourn ever their withering graces, 
languid virtues, or dying comforts ; nor shall they 
ever complain of drowzy faculties, or unactive powers, 
where God and the Lamb are for ever present in the 
midst of them. Shall I invite your thoughts to dwell 
a little upon this subject? 

Shall we make a more particular * enquiry, whence 
it comes to pass that there is no night nor darkness 
in the heavenly city ?' We are told a little before the 
words of my text, that 'the glory of God enlightens 
it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. There is no 
need of the sun by day, or of the moon by night j' 
there is no need of any such change of seasons as day 
and night in the upper regions, nor any such alternate 
enlightners of a dark world, as God has placed in our 
firmament, or in this visible sky. The inheritance 
of the saints in light is sufficiently irradiated by God 
himself, wdio at his first call made the light spring up 
oat of darkness over a wide chaos of confusion, be- 
fore the sun and moon appeared ; and the beams of 
divine light, grace and glory, are communicated 
from God, the original foundation of it, by the Lamb, 
to all the inhabitants of the heavenly country. It was 
by Jesus his Son that God made the light at first, 
and by him he conveys it to all the happy worlds^ 


There is no doubt of this in the present hestven of 
saints departed from flesh, who are ascended 'to the 
spirits of the just made perfect.' It is one of their 
privileges that they go to dwell, not only where they 
see the face of God, but where they behold the glory 
of Christ, and converse with * Jesus the Mediator of 
the new covenant,' and are *for ever present with the 
Lord' who redeemed them. Heb. xii. 23, 24. 2 Cor. 
V. 8. Since his mediatorial kingdom and ofiices are 
not vet finished in the present heaven of separate 
souls, we may depend on this blessedness to be com- 
municated tiirough Christ the Lamb of ^od, and all 
the spiritual enjoymen.ts and felicities which are re- 
|)resented under the metaphor of Might,' are convey- 
ed to then) llirough Jesus the Mediator. 

The sun, in the natural world, is a bright emblem 
m divinity, or the Godhead, for it is the spring of all 
light, and heat, and life, to the creation. It is by the 
iivOuences of the sun, that herbs, plants, and animals, 
are produced in their proper seasons, and in all their 
various beauties, and they are ail refreshed and sup- 
ported by it. Now if we should suppose this vast 
globe of fire which we call 'the sun,' to be inclosed 
in a huge hollow sphere of crystal, which s'nould at- 
temper its rays like a transparent vail, and give milder 
and geiiller influences to the burning beams of it, 
an.d yet transmit every desirable and useful portion 
of light or heat, this would be an ha{)py emblem of 
tlie man 'Christ Jesus, in whom dwells ail the fulness 
ri" tlic Godlicad bodily.' It is tlie Lamb of God who, 
in a mild and gracious manner, conveys the blessings 


originally derived from God his Father to all the 
saints. We partake of them in our measure in this 
lower world among his churches here on earth ; but 
it is w^ith a nobler influence, and in a more sublime 
degree, the blessings of paradise are difFiised through 
all the mansions of glory, by this illustrious medium 
of conveyance, Jesus the Son of God ; and there can 
be no night nor coldness, death nor darkness, in this 
happy state of separate souls. 

When the bodies of the saints shall be raised again, 
and re- united to their proper spirits, when they shall 
ascend to the place of their final heaven and supreme 
happiness, we know not what manner of bodies they 
shall be, what sort of senses they shall be furnished 
with, nor how many powers of conversing with the 
corporeal world shall be bestowed upon them. Whe- 
ther they shall have such organs of sensation as eyes 
and ears, and stand in need of such light as we de- 
rive from the sun or moon, is not absolutely certain. 
The Scripture tells us, it shall not be a body of flesh 
and blood : These are not materials refined enough 
for the heavenly state ; *'that which is corruptible 
cannot inherit incorruption." 1 Cor. xv. 50. But 
this we may be assured of, that whatsoever inlets of 
knowledge, whatever avenues of pleasure, whatever 
delightful sensations are necessary to make the inha- 
bitants of that world happy, they shall be all united 
in that spiritual body which God will prepare for the 
new-raised saints. If eyes and ears shall belong to 
that glorified body, those sensitive powers shall be 

N 2 


nobly enlarged, and made more delightfully suscep- 
tive of richer shares of knowledge and joy. 

O^ what if we shall have that body furnished with 
such unknown mediums, or organs of sensation, as 
sliall make light and sound, such as We here partake 
of, unnecessary to us ? These organs shall certainly 
be such, as shall transcend all the advantages that we 
receive in this present state from sounds or sun- 
beams. There shall be no disconsolate darkness, 
nor any tiresome silence there. There shall be no 
night to interrupt the business or pleasures of that 
everlasting day. 

Or what if the whole body shall be endued all over 
with the senses o^ seeing <xx\(\ hearing'^ What if these 
"sori of sensations shall be diffused throughout all that 
immortal body, ^s fecUng is diffused through all ouv 
present mortal flesh ? What if God himself shall in 
a more illustrious manner irradiate all the powers of 
the body and spirit, and communicate the light of 
knowledge, holiness, and joy, in a superior manner 
to what we ca:i now conceive or imagine ? This is 
certain, that darkness in every sense, with all the in- 
conveniencies and unhappy consequences of it, is and 
must be for ever banished from the heavenly state* 
'There is no night there.' 

When our Lord Jesus Christs hall have *' given up 
his" mediatorial klpf^dom to the Father, **and have" 
presented all his saints spotless and without blemish 
before his throne, it is hard for us mortals in the 
present state, to say how far he shall be the everlast- 
ing medium of the communication of divine bless- 


ings to the happy inhabitants on high. Yet wlien 
we consider that the saints and angels, and the whole 
happy creation, are gathered together in him as tbeir 
bcad,^ it is certain they shall all be accounted in 
some sense * his members ;' and it is highly proba- 
ble he, as their head, shall be for ever active in com- 
municating and diffusing the unknov/n blessings of 
that world, amongst all the inhabitants of it who are 
gathered and united in him. 

I come in the last place, to make a few remarks 
upon the foregoing discourse, and in order to ren- 
der them more effectual for our spiritual advantage, 
I shall consider the words of my text, * there shall 
be no night there,' in their metaphorical or spiritu- 
al meaning, as well as in their literal sense. There 
is no night of ignorance or error in the mind, no 
night of guilt or of sorrow in the soul : But the bless- 
ed above shall dwell surrounded with the light of 
divine knowledge, they shall walk in the light of holi- 
ness, and they shall be for ever filled with the light 
of consolation and joy, as I have explained it at the 
beQ:innin«: of this discourse. 

The 1st remark then is this, * When heaven, 
earth and hell, are compared together, with relation 
to light and darkness, or night and day,' we then see 
them in their proper distinctions and aspects. Eve- 
ry thing is set in its most distinguishing situation 
and appearance, when it is compared with things 
which are most opposite. 

* The Greek word a:/:t!tjf.j£7>.s<of^-, used in Eph. i. 10. f.u-ours this meaniiig-. 
and perhaps Col i, 20 includes ihc same \\\\..Z- 


The earth on which we dwell during this state of 
trial, has neither all day nor all night belonging to it, 
but sometimes light appears, and again darkness, 
whether in a natural or a spiritual sense. 

Though there be long seasons of darkness in the 
winter, and darkness in the summer also, in its con- 
stant returns, divides one day from another, yet the 
God of nature has given us a larger portion of light 
than there is of darkness, throughout the whole globe 
of the earth : And this benefit we receive by the re- 
maining beams of the sun after its setting, and by the 
assistance of the moon and the stars of heaven. Bles- 
sed be God for the moon and stars, as well as for the 
sun- beams and the brightness of noon. Blessed be 
God for all the lights of nature, but we stillbless him 
more for the liglit of the gospel, and for any rays 
from heaven, any beams of the sun of righteousness, 
which diffuse in lower measures knowledge, and holi- 
ness, and comfort, among the inhabitants of this our 
world. God is here manifesting his love and grace 
in such proportions as he thinks proper. Some beams 
of the heavenly world break out upon us here in this 
dark region. God the spring of all our light, and the 
Lamb ' f God by his Spirit communicates sufficient 
light to us, to guide us on in our way to that heaven- 
ly country. 

In /6^// there is all night and darkness, thick dark- 
ness in every sense, for the God of glory is absent 
there as to any manifestations of his face and favour. 
And therefore it is often called ** utter darkness, 
where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing 


of teeth/' There is no holiness, there is no conr^fort, 
there are no benefits of the creation, no blessings of 
grace ; all are forfeited and gone for ever. It is 
everlasting night and blackness of darkness in that 
world : Horror of soul, without a beam of refresh- 
ment from the face of God or the Lamb for ever. 
The devils are now ''reserved in everlasting chains 
under darkness to the judgment of the great day," 
Jude 6. But then their confinement shall be closer, 
and their darkness, guilt, and sorrow, shall be more 
overwhelming. Is it lawful for me in this place, to 
mention the description which Milton our English 
poet gives of their wretched habitation ? 

* A dungeon horrible on all sides round, 
As one great furnace fiam'd ; yet from those flames 
No light, but rather darkness visible 
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe ; 
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 
And rest can never dwell ; hope never comes, 
That comes to all : But torture without end 
Still urges, and a fiery deluge fed 
With ever burning sulphur unconsum'd. 
Such place eternal justice had prepar'd 
For rebel-angels; here their pris'n ordain'd 
In utter darkness, and their portion set 
As fcir remov'd from God and light of heaven 
As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole' 

To this the poet adds, 
* O how unlike the place from whence they fell !' 


How unlike to that heaven which I have been de- 
scribing, in which there is no night ; and all the evils 
of darkness in every sense are for ever secluded from 
that happy region, where knowledge, holiness, and 
joy, are all inseparable and immorial. 

2. Remark. * What light of every kind we are 
made partakers of here on earth, let us use it with 
holy thankfulness, with zeal and religious improve- 
ment.' Hereby we may be assisted and animated to 
travel on, through the mingled stages and scenes of 
light and darkness, in this world, till we arrive at 
the inheritance of the saints in perfect light. It is a 
glorious blessing to this dark world, that the light 
of Christianity is added to the light of Judaism, and 
the light of nature ; and that the law of Moses, and 
the gospel of Christ, are set before us in this na> 
tion in their distinct views, on purpose to make our 
Vvay to happiness more evident and easy. May the 
song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb, be sung 
in our land ! But let us never rest satisfied, till the 
light that is let into our minds become a spring of 
divine life w ithin us, a life of knowledge, holiness, 
iwA comfort. Let us not be found amongst the num- 
ber of those, who, when * light is come into the 
Vvorld, love darkness rather than light,' lest we fall 
under their condemnation. John iii. 19. Let us never 
rest till we see the evidences of the children of God 
v/rought in us with power; till the 'day-spring that 
has visited us from on high' has entered into our 
spirits, and refined and moulded them into the di- 
vine imnj;e; till we who are by nature all * darkness 
are made light in the Lord.' 


O what a blessed change does the converting 
grace of Christ make in the soul of a son or daugh- 
ter of Adam? It is like the beauty and pleasure 
which the rising morning diffuses over the face of 
the earth, after a night of storm and darkness: It 
is so much of heaven let into all the chambers of 
the soul : It is then only that we begin to know 
ourselves aright, and know God in his most awful 
and most lovely manifestations : It is in this light 
we see the hateful evil of every sin, the beauty of 
holiness, the worth of the gospel of Christ, and of 
his salvation. It is a light that carries divine heat 
and life with it; it renews all the powers of the 
spirit, and introduces holiness, hope and joy, in the 
room of folly and guilt, sin, darkness and sorrow. 

3. Remark. If God has wrought this sacred and 
divine cliange in our souls, if we are made the 
children of light, or if we profess to have felt this 
change, and hope for an interest in this bright in- 
heritance of the saints, * let us put away all the works 
of darkness with hatred and detestation.' ** Let us 
walk in the light'' of truth and holiness, Eph. v. 8. 
*'Ye were once darkness, but are now light in the 
Lord ; walk as children of light." And the Apostle 
repeats his exhortation to th'^:; Thessalonians in I 
Epist. 5th chapter and the 5th verse. ' Ye are all 
children of the light and of the day, and not the so?is 
of night or darkness ; therefore let us not sleep as do 
others, but let us watch and be sober ; putting on 
the breast- plate of faith and love, and for an hehnet 
the hope of salvation, for God hath not appointed u:s 


to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus 

To animate every Christian to this holy care and 
watchfuhiess, let us think what a terrible disappoint- 
ment it will be, after we have made a bright profes- 
sion of Christianity in our lives, to lie down in death 
in a state of sin and guilt, and to awake in the world 
of spirits, in the midst of the groans and agonies of 
hell, surrounded and covered with everlasting dark- 
ness. Let our public profession be as illustrious and 
bright as it will, yet if we indulge works of darkness 
in secret, night and darkness will be our eternal por- 
tion, with the anguish of conscience, and the terrors 
of the Almighty, without one glimpse of hope or re- 
lief. It is only those who walk in the light of holi- 
ness here, who can be fit to dwell in the presence of 
a God of holiness hereafter. * Light is sown only for 
the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart;' and 
it shall break out one day from amongst the clods, 
a glorious harvest ; but only the sons and the daugh- 
ters of light shall taste of the blessed fruits of it. 

Think again with yourselves when you are tempt- 
ed to sin and folly. What if I should be cut off on 
a sudden, practising the works of darkness, and my 
soul be summoned into the eternal world, covered 
with guilt and defilement ? Shall I then be lit for the 
world of light? Will the God of light ever receive 
me to his dwelling > Do I not hereby render myself 
unfit company f(3r the angels of light ? and what if I 
should be sent down to dwell among the spirits of 


darkness, since I have imitated their sinful manners, 
and obeyed their cursed influences ? 

O may such thoughts as these dwell upon our 
spirits with an awful solemnity, and be a perpetual 
guard against defihng our garments with any iniqui- 
ty, lest our Lord should come and find us thus pof- 
luted. Let us walk onwards in the paths of light, 
which are discovered to us in the word of God, and 
which are illustrated by his holy ordinances, to guide 
us through the clouds and shades which attend us 
in this wilderness, till our Lord Jesus shall come 
with all his surrounding glories, and take us to the 
full possession of the inheritance in light. 

4. Remark. ' Under our darkest nights, our most 
unactive and heavy hours, our most uncomfortable 
seasons here on earth, let us remember we are tra- 
velling to a world of light and joy.' If we happen 
to lie awake in midnight darkness, and count the 
tedious hours one after another, in a mournful suc- 
cession, under any of the maladies of nature, or the 
sorrows of this life, let us comfort ourselves that we 
are not shut up in eternal night and darkness with- 
out hope, but we are still making our way towards 
that country where there is no night, where there is 
neither sin nor pain, malady nor sorrow. 

What if the blessed God is pleased to try us, by 
the with- holding of light from our eyes for a sea- 
son ? What if we are called to seek our duty in 
dark providences, or are perplexed in deep and dif» 
ficult controversies wherein we cannot find the light 
of truth ? What if we * sit in darkness' and mourn- 

o 2 


in^, ' and see no light,' and the beams of divine con^ 
solation are cut off, let us still ' trust in the name 
of the Lord, and stay ourselves upon our God,' espe- 
cially as he manifests himself in the Lamb that was 
slain, the blessed medium of his mercy, Isa. 1. 10» 
Let us learn to say with the Prophet Micah in the 
spirit of faith, Micah vii. 8, 9. '' When 1 sit in 
darkness the Lord will be a light unto me; he will 
bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his 

Blessed be God that the night of ignorance, grief, 
or affliction, which attends us in this world, is not 
everlasting night. Heaven and glory are at hand ; 
wait and watch for the morning star, for Jesus and 
the resurrection. Roil on apace in your appointed 
course ye suns and moons, and all ye twinkling en- 
lightners of the sky, carry on the changing seasons 
of light and darkness in this lower world with your 
utmost speed, till you have finished all my appoin- 
ted months of continuance here. The light of faith 
shews me the dawning of that glorious day, which 
shall finish all my nights and darknesses for ever. 
Make haste, O delightful morning, and delay not my 
hopes. Let me hasten, let me arrive at that blessed 
inheritance, those mansions of paradise, where night 
is never known, but c5ne eternal day shall make our 
knowledge, our holiness, and oar joy, eternal. 


2 Cor. v. 5. 

Now be that hath wrought us for the self -same things 

is God. 

WHEN this Apostle designs to entertain our hope 
in the noblest manner, and raise our faith to its 
highest joys, he generally calls our thoughts far away 
from all present and visible things, and sends them 
forward to the great and glorious ddy of the resurrec- 
tion : He points our meditations to take a distant 
prospect of the final and complete happiness of the 
saints in Heaven, when their bodies shall be raised 
shining and immortal; whereas it is but seldom that 
he takes notice of the Heaven of separate souls, or 
that part of our future happiness which commences 
at the hour of death. But in this chapter the holy 
writer seems to keep both these Heavens in his eye, 
and speaks of that blessedness which the spirits fo 
of the just shall enjoy in the 'presence of the Lord,' 
as soon as 'they are absent from the body,' and yet 
leads our souls onwards also to our last and most 
perfect state of happiness, which is delayed till our 
corruptible bodies shall be raised from the dust, and 
mortality shall be swallowed up in life. *We know,' 
saith he in the first verse of this chapter, 'we know 


that as soon as our mortal tabernacle,' in which we 
now dwell, *js dissolved, we have a building,' ready 
for us 'in the heavens ;' i. e. an investiture in a [glo- 
rious state of holiness and immortality, which waits 
to receive our spirits when we drop this dyins: flesh : 
Yet the felicities of this paradise, or first heaven, 
shall receive an unspeakable addition and advance- 
ment, when * Christ shall come the second time,' 
with all his saints, to complete our salvation. 

But which heaven soever we arrive at, w^hether it 
be this of the separate state, or that when our bodies 
shall be restored, still we must be 'wrought up' to 
a proper fitness for it by God himself; and as the 
end of this verse tells us, he 'gives us his own spirit 
as an earnest' of these future blessings. 

The observation which shall be the subject of my 
discourse, is this : ' Those who shall enjoy the 
heavenly blessedness hereafter, must be prepared 
for it here in this world, by the operation of the 
blessed God.' 

Here we must take notice in the first place, that 
since we are sinful and guilty creatures in ourselves, 
and have forfeited all our pretences to the favour of 
God and happiness, we must be restored to his fa- 
vour, we must have our sins forgiven, we must be 
justified in his sight with an everlasting righteous- 
ness, we must be adopted as the children of God, 
and have a right and title given us to the heavenly 
inheritance, before we can enter into it, or possess it; 
and this blessing is procured for us by the obedience 
and death of the Son of God. It is in his blood that 


we find an atonement for our iniquities, and we must 
be made heirs of i^Iory by becomin.e: the adopted 
children of God, and so Mve are joint-heirs' with his 
Son lesus, and shall be glorified with him, Rom. 
viii. 17. 

And it is by a true and living Hiith in tlie Son of 
God, that we become partakers of this blessing. God 
has set forth his Son Jesus as a propitiation for 
sinners through faith in his blood, Rom. iii. 24. 
*' We are justified by faith" in his blood, and ** have 
hope of eternal life through him," Rom. v. We also 
receive our adoption, and ^* become the children of 
God through faith in Christ Jesus," Gal. iii. 26. and 
thereby we obtain a title to some mansion in our 
Father's house in Heaven, since Jesus our elder bro- 
ther, and our forerunner, is admitted into it to take 
a place there in our name. This is a very consider- 
able part of our necessary preparation for the heaven- 
ly world, that we should be believers in the Son of 
God, and united to him by a living faith ; and this 
faith also is ' the gift of God,' Eph. ii. 8. We 
are wrought up to it by his grace. 

But as this does not seem to be the chief thing 
designed in the words of my text, I shall pass it over 
thus briefly, and apply myself to consider what that 
further fitness or preparation for heaven intends, for 
which we are said here ' to be wrought up by God' 
himself. The former preparation for heaven, may 
rather be said to be a 'relative change,' which is in- 
cluded in our pardon or justification, and alters our 
state from the condemnation of hell, to the favour 


and love of God : But this latter preparation im- 
plies a real chansfe of our nature by sanctifying 
grace, and ^ives us a temper of soul suited to the 
business and blessedness of the heavenly world. 
This is the * preparation' which my text speaks of. 

The great enquiry therefore at present is, * What 
are those steps, or gradual operations, by which the 
blessed God works us up to this fitness for heaven ?' 

And here I shall not run over all the parts and li- 
neaments of the new creature, which is formed by 
regeneration, nor the particular operations of con- 
verting grace, whereby w^e are convinced of sin, and 
led to faith and repentance, and new obedience, though 
these at^ all necessary to this end ; but I shall con- 
fine myself only to those things which have a more 
immediate reference to the heavenly blessedness; 
and they are such as follow : 

1. 'God works us up to a preparation for the hea- 
venlv felicity, by establishing and confirming our be- 
lief, that there is a heaven provided for the saints, 
and by giving us some clearer acquaintance with the 
nature, the business, and the blessedness of this hea- 
ven.' All this is done by the gospel of Christ, and 
by the secret operation of the blessed God, teaching 
us to understand his gospel. 

Alas ! how ignorant were the heathen sages about 
any future state for the righteous ? How bewildered 
were the best of them in all their imaginations ? how 
vain were all their reasonings upon this subject, and 
how little satisfaction could they give to an honest 
enquirer, whether there was any reward provided for 


good men beyond this life ? The light of nature was 
their guide ; and those in whom this feeble taper 
burnt with' the fairest lustre, were still left in j^reat 
darkness about futurity. As the Gentile philoso- 
phers were left in great uncertainties whether there 
was any heaven or no, so were th^ir conceptions of 
heavenly things very absurd and ridiculous ; and 
their various fancies about the nature and enjoyments 
of it, were all impertinence. 

And how little knowledge had the Patriarchs them= 
selves, if we may judge of their knowledge by the 
five books of Moses, which give no plain and ex- 
press promise of future happiness in another world, 
neidier to Abel nor Noah, to Abraham, Isaac, Ja- 
cob, or to Moses himself ? And were it not for 
some expressions in the New Testament, and by the 
xith chapter to the Hebrews, where we are told, that 
these good men ' sought a heavenly country,' and 
hoped for happiness in a future and invisible state, 
we should somellmes be ready to doubt whether they 
knew almost any thing of the future resurrection and 

That great and excellent man Job had one or two 
lucid intervals Of peculiar brightness, which shone 
upon him from heaven, in the midst of his distresses, 
and I'aised him eibove and beyond the common level 
of the dispensation he lived in; yet, in the main, when 
he describes the state of the dead, how desolate and 
dolesome is his language, and what heavy darkness 
hangs upon his hope I See his expression, Job x, 
21, 22. "■ Let me alone that I mav take comfort a 


little, before I go whence I shall not return, even to 
the Kind of darkness, and the shadow of death, a 
land of darkness as darkness itself, and of the sha- 
dow of death without any order, and where the light 
is as darkness." Mark how this good man heaps 
one darkness upon another, and makes so formida- 
ble a gloom as was hardly to be dispelled by the 
common notices given to men in that age. 

And if we look into the Jewish writings in and af- 
ter the days of Moses, we find the men of righteous- 
ness frequently entertained with promises of corn, 
and wine, and oil, and other blessings of sense ; and 
few there were amongst them who saw clearly, and 
firmly believed the heavenly inheritance through the 
types, and shadows, and figures of Canaan, the pro- 
mised land, which flowediwith milk and honey. 

It is granted there are some hints and discoveries 
of a blessedness beyond the grave in the writings of 
David, Isaiah, Daniel, and some of the Prophets : 
But the brightest of these notices fall far short of 
w^hat the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ has set be- 
before us. The Son of God who came down from 
heaven, where he had lived frorn before the crea- 
tion of this w^orld, has revealed -.o us infinitely more 
of the invisible state than all that went before him : 
He tell us of the ' pure in heart enjoying- the sight 
of God,' and conversing with ' Abraham, Isaac 
and Jacob,' the ancient saints : He assures us there 
* are many mansions in his Father's house,' and 
that he * went to prepare a place' there for his fol- 
lowers. *' I tell voii" snvs he, John viii. 38. "- I 


tell you the things which I have seen with my Fa- 
ther.*' And when he came again from the dead, he 
made it appear to his disciples that he had *' brought 
life and immortality to light by his gospel," 2 Tim. 
i. 10. 

It is only the New Testament that gives us so 
bright and satisfactory an account what our future 
heaven is : The * righteous shall be with God,' shall 
behold him, shall dwell with Christ, and see his glo- 
ry ; they shall worship day and night in his temple, 
and sing the praises of him that sits upon the throne, 
and of the Lamb that has redeemed them by his 
blood; there shall be no sin, no sorrow, no death, 
nor any more pain ; they shall have such satisfac- 
tions and employments as are worthy of a rational na- 
ture, and a soul refined from sense and sin. St. 
Paul, one of his disciples, was transported into the 
third heaven before he died, and there learnt *' un- 
speakable things," 2 Cor. xii. 2, 4. and he, together 
with the other Apostles, have published the glories 
of that future world which they learnt from Jesus 
their Lord, and confirmed these things to our faith 
by prophecies and miracles without number. 

Now the blessed God himself prepares his own 
people for this heaven of happiness, by giving them a 
full conviction and assurance of the truth of all these 
divine discoveries ; he impresses them upon their 
heart with power, and makes them attend to those 
divine impressions. Every true Christian has learnt 
to say within himself, * This celestial blessedness 
is no dream, is no painted vision, no gay scene of 
* p 2 


flattering fancy, nor is it a matter of doubtful dis- 
pute, or of uncertain opinion. I am assured of it 
from thevvords of Christ the Son of God, and from 
his blessed followers, whom he authorised to teach 
me the things of a future world.' He that is taught 
of God beholds these glories in the light of a divine 
faith, which is to him the " substance of things 
hoped for, and the evidence of things not yet seen,'^ 
Heb. xi. 1. 

2. God works up the souls of his people to a pre- 
paration for the heavenly state, by * purifying them 
from every defilement that might unfit them for the 
blessedness of heaven.' The removal ofthe guilt of sin 
by his pardoning mercy I have mentioned before, as 
necessary to our entrance into the heavenly state ; 
and we^ must walk through this world, this defiling 
world with all holy watchfulness, lest our soul be ble- 
mished with new pollutions, lest new guilt come up- 
on our consciences, and the thoughts of appearance 
before God be terrible to us. Tliat soul is very much 
unfit for an entrance into the presence of a holy God, 
who is ever plunging itself into new circumstances of 
guilt, by a careless and unholy conversation. To 
stand upon the borders of life, and the very edge of 
eternity, will be dreadful to those who have given 
themselves a loose to criminal pleasures, and indul- 
ged their irregular appetites and passions. 

But it is not only a conscience purged from the 
guilt of sin by the blood of Christ, but a soul wash- 
ed also from the defiling power and taint of sin, by 
the sanctifying spirit that is necessary to make us meet 


for the heavenly inheritance. This is that purifica- 
tion which I now chiefly intend, Matth. v. 8. '' Bles- 
sed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." No- 
thing- that defileth must enter into the city of God 
on high, nor whosoever maketh a lye or loveth it, 
Rev. xxi. 27. No injustice, no flilsehood, no guile 
or deceit can be admitted within those gates : They 
must be without guile both in their heart and tongue, 
if they will ** stand before the throne of God," Rev. 
xiv. 5. sincerity and truth of soul, with all the beau- 
ties of an upright heart and character, are necessa- 
ry to prepare an inhabitant for that blessed state. 
There must be no envy, no wrath or malice, no re- 
venge; nor will any of the angry principles that dwell 
in our flesh and blood, or that inflame and disturb 
the mind, be found in those regions of peace and 
love. There must be no pride or ambition, no self- 
exaltation and vanity that can dwell in heaven, for it 
cast out the angels of glorious degree, when they 
would exalt themselves above their own station. 
* Pride was the condemnation of the devil,' and it 
must not dwell in ^ human heart that ever hopes for 
a heavenly dwelling-place, 1 Tim. iii. 6, and Jude 
ver. 6. There must be no sensual and intemperate 
creature there, no covetous selfishness, no irregular 
passions, no narrowness of soul, no uncharitable and 
party spirit will ever be found in that country of dif^ 
Jfusive love and joy. 

And since the best of Christians have had the seeds 
of many of these iniquities in their hearts, and they 
have made a painful complaint of these rising corrup- 


tions of nature upon many occasions, these iniqui- 
ties must be mortified and slain by the work of the 
Spirit of God within us, if ever we ourselves would 
live the divine life of heaven, Rom. viii. 13. There 
is a great deal of this purifying work to be done in the 
souls of all of us, before we can be prepared for the 
Jieavenly world, and though we cannot arrive at per- 
fection here, yet we must be wrought up to a tem- 
per in some measure fit to enter into that blessed- 
ness : And God is training his people up for this pur- 
pose all the days of their travels through this desert 
world. Happy souls, who feel themselves more and 
more released from the bonds of these iniquities, day 
by day, and thereby feel within themselves the grow- 
ing evidences of a joyful hope ! 

3. God does not only purify us from every sin in 
order to prepare us for heaven, but * he is ever loose- 
ning and weaning our hearts from all those lawful 
things in this life, which are not to be enjoyed in 
heaven.' Our sensual appetites, and our carnal de- 
sires, so far as they are natural, though not sinful, 
must die before we can enter into eternal life. * Flesh 
and blood cannot inherit' that divine, incorruptible^ 
and refined happiness. Riches and treasures of gold 
and silver which the ' rust can corrupt, and which 
thieves can break through and steal,' are not provi- 
ded for the heavenly state: They are all of the earth- 
ly kind, and too mean for the relish of a heavenly 
spirit. Although a Christian may possess many of 
these things in the present life, yet his affections 
must be divested of them, and his soul divided from 


them, if he would be a saint indeed, and ever ready 
for the purer blessings of paradise. The businesses, 
the cares and the concerns of this secular life, are 
ready to drink up our spirits too much while we are 
here ; we are too prone to mingle our very souls with 
them, and thereby grow unfit for heavenly felicities: 
And therefore it is that cur Saviour has warned us, 
Luke xxi. 34. *' Let not your hearts be overcharged 
with the cares of this world," any more than ** with 
surfeiting and drunkenness," if you would be always 
ready for your flight to a better state, and meet the 
summons of your Lord to paradise. 

There are also many curious speculations and de- 
lightful amusements which may lawfully entertain us 
w^hile we are here ; there are sports and recreations 
which may divert the flesh or the mind in a lawful 
manner, whilst we dwell in tabernacles of flesh and 
blood, and are encompassed with mortal things : But 
the soul that is wrought up for heaven must arise to an 
holy indifference to all the entertainments of flesh and 
sense, and time, if it would put on the appearance of 
an heavenly inhabitant. Christians that would be ever 
ready for the glories of a better world must be sucli 
in some measure as the Apostle describes, 1 Cor. 
vii. 30. &c. They must * rejoice' with such modera- 
tion in their dearest comforts of life * as though they 
rejoiced not,* they must weep and mourn for the loss 
of them with such a divine self-government ' as 
though they wept not,' they must * buy as though 
they possessed not,' they must ' use this world as 
not abusing it' in any instance, but must look upoa 


the fashions and the scenes of it as vanishing things, 
and have their hearts " set on the things that are 
above where Christ Jesus is at the Father's right 
hand," Colos. iii. 1, 2. 

If you ask me, what methods the blessed God uses 
in order to attain these ends, and to purify and refine 
the soul for heaven ? I answer, he sometimes does it 
by sharp strokes of affliction, making our interests in 
the creature bitter to us, that we may be weaned 
from the relish of them, and the power of divine 
grace must accompany all his weaning providences, 
or the work will not be done. 

Sometimes again he weans the soul from the law- 
ful things of this world, by permitting our earthly 
enjoyments to plunge us into difficulties, to seize the 
heart with anxieties, or to surround us with sore 
temptations : Then, when we feel ourselves falling 
into sin, and bruised or defiled thereby, we lose our 
former gust of pleasure in them ; and when we are 
recovered by divine grace, we are more eflfectually 
weaned from such kind of temptations for the future; 
but it is impossible in the compass of a few lines to 
describe the various methods which the blessed God 
uses to wean the spirit from all its earthly attach- 
ments, and to work it up to a meetness for the inhe- 
ritance of the saints in light. Blessed souls, who 
are thus loosened and weaned from sensible things, 
though it be done by painful sufferings ! 

4. The great God not only weans our hearts from 
those thiui^^s that are not to be enjoyed in heaven, 
but he 'gives us a holy appetite and relish suited to 


the provisions of the heavenly world, and raises our 
desires and tendencies of soul towards them.' By 
nature our minds are estranged from God, and from 
all that is divine and holy ; we have no desires after 
his love, nor delight in the thoughts of dwelling with 
God : but when divine grace has effectually touched 
the heart, it ever tends upwards to that world of holi- 
ness and peace. So the needle, when it is touched 
by the load-stone, ever points to the beloved pole- 
star, and seems uneasy when it is diverted from it, 
nor will it rest till it return thither again. 

Do the sweet sensations of divine love make up a 
great part of the heavenly blessedness ? The soul is 
in some measure fitted for it, who can say with Da- 
vid in Psal. iv. 7. '* Lord lift thou up upon me tlia 
light of thy countenance, and it shall rejoice" my 
heart ** more than if corn and wine, and oil abound- 
ed," and all earthly blessings were nnultiplied upon 
me ; for in thy love is the life of my soul, and thy 
*' loving- kindness is better than life," Psal. Ixiii. 

Is the felicitating presence of God to be enjoyed in 
the future world, and shall we see his face there with 
unspeakable delight r Then those souls are prepared 
for heaven, who can say with the Psalmist, Psal. xliii, 
2. *' When shall I come and appear before God r" 
When shall I have finished my travels through this 
wilderness, that I may arrive at my Father's house ? 
** This one thing have I desired, that I may dwell in 
the house of God/^r eijer to behold the beauty of the 
Lord there," Psal. xxvii. 4. It is enough for me 
that I shall " behold thy face in righteousness, and 


I shall be satisfied when I awake" out of the dust 
«* with thy likeness. With my soul have I desired 
thee, O Lord, in the night," ia the darkness of this 
desert world I have longed for the light of thy face, 
**and with my spirit within me I will seek thee 
early. Whom have I in heaven but thee, neither is 
there any on earth that I desire beside thee/' Psal. 
xvii. Isa. xxvi. Psal. Ixxiii. O when shall the day 
come when there shall be no more distance and es- 
trangement of my heart from God, but I shall feel all 
my powers for ever near him ? 

Is the sweet society of Jesus to be enjoyed in the 
heavenly region, then those are prepared for this 
happiness who feel in themselves *' a desire to depart, 
and to be with Christ, which is far better" than the 
most pleasureable scenes on earth, Phil. i. 23. *' I 
am willing" and rejoice in the thought of it "• rather 
to be absent from the body, and to be present with 
the Lord," 2 Cor. v. S. I behold in the light of 
faith the dawning glory of that day, when Jesus shall 
return from heaven, when he shall revisit this wretch- 
ed world, and put an end to these, wretched scenes 
of vanity. " Behold he cometh in the clouds, and 
every eye shall see him." He comes into our world 
«* to them that look for him," not to be made a sa- 
crifice for sin, but to complete our salvation. I long 
to behold him, and I love the thought of his appear- 
ance, Rev. i. Heb. ix. 2 Tim. iv. &c. 

Is there not only a freedom from pain and sorrow 
among the saints on high, but is there also an eter- 
Tial release from all the bonds of sin and temptation ? 


Then that soul discovers a degree of preparation for 
it, who can say with an holy groan and grief of heart, 
*' O VA retched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from this body of sin and death?" Rom. vii. ** la 
this tabernacle we groan fA;^<fd'(i being burdened, and 
are desirous rather to be clothed upon with our 
house which is from heaven," with our holy state of 
immortality, 2 Cor. v. 

5. That God who has WTought these divine breath- 
ings in the soul will one day fulfil them all, and he 
is working up the Christian to a blessed meetness for 
this felicity, by awakening these wishes in the very 
centre of the heart. Happy heart, w hich feels these 
holy aspirations, these divine breathings ! 

6. The blessed God is pleased to work us up to a 
preparation for the heavenly world ' by forming the 
temper of our minds into a likeness to the inhabit- 
ants of heaven,' i. e. to God himself, to Christ Jesus 
the Son of God, to angels and saints, to the spirits of 
the just made perfect. From the children of folly and 
sin we must be transformed into the children of Gbd, 
we must be created anew after hi^ image, and resem- 
ble our heavenly Father, that we may be capable of 
enjoying his love, and rejoicing in his presence. We 
must be conformable to the image of his only begot- 
ten Son Christ Jesus, and walk and live as he did in 
this world, that we may be prepared to dwell with 
him in the world to come, Rom. viii. 29. 1 John iv. 
17. We must have the same temper and spirit ol 
holiness wrought in us, that we may be imitators of 
all the holy ones that dwell in heaven, and that we 



may be followers of the saints who have been stran- 
gers and travellers in this world in all former ages. 

How can we hope to have free conversation with 
glorious beings, which are so unlike to ourselves, as 
God, and Christ, and angels are unlike to the sinful 
children of men ? How can we imagine ourselves to 
be fit company for such pure and perfect beings, 
beauteous, and shining in holiness, while we are de- 
filed with the iniquities of our natures, and ever fi\ll- 
ing into new guilt and pollution ? Happy souls, who 
can say through grace, ' I have walked in the light 
as God is in the light,' and I trust, O Father, I 
shall dwell for ever with thee there. I have been a 
follower of the Lamb through the thorny and rugged 
passages of this wilderness, and I humbly hope I shall 
sit with thee, O Jesus, up.on a throne glorious and 
holy. 1 have been a companion of them who have 
finished the Christian race, who have fought the good 
fight, and obtained the victory, and I trust I shall have 
a name and a place amongst all you holy ones who 
have fought and overcome. O for a heart and 
tongue furnished for such appeals to all the blessed 
inhabitants of paradise, the possessors of those man- 
sions on high I 

7. The grace of God works us up to a preparation 
for heaven ' by carrying us through those trials and 
sufferings, those labours and conflicts here in this 
life, v\ hich will not onl}^ make heaven the sweeter to 
us, but will make it more honourable for God him- 
self to bestow this heaven upon us.' 


When the spirits of a creature are almost worn out 
w'nh the toilsome labours of the day, what an addi- 
tional sweetness does he find in rest and repose? 
What an inward relish and satisfaction to the soul, 
that has been fatigued under a long and tedious war 
with sins aJid temptations, to be transported to such 
a place where sin cannot follow them, and temptation 
can never reach them ? How will it enhance all the 
felicities of the heavenly world when we enter into it, 
to feel ourselves released from all the trials and dis- 
tresses and sufferings which we have sustained in our 
travels thitherwards ? The review of the u aves and 
the storms wherein we had been tossed for a long sea- 
son, and had been almost shipwrecked there, will 
make the peaceful haven of eternity, to which we shall 
arrive, much more agreeable to every one of the suf- 
ferers, 2 Cor. iv. 17. " Our light afflictions, which 
are but for a moment, are" in this way ** working for 
us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," 
and preparing us for the possession of it. 

But it should be added also, that the prize of life, 
and the crown of glory, is much more honourably be- 
stowed on those who have been long fighting, run- 
ning, and labouring to obtain it. Heaven will appear 
as a condecent reward of all the faithful servants of 
God upon earth, and a divine recompence of their 
labours and sufferings, 2 Thes. i. 6. ' As it is a 
righteous thing with God to recompence tribulation 
to them that trouble you, so to give to those who are 
troubled rest' and salvation. 


This is that equitable or condecent fitness that God, 
as governor of the world, has wisely appointed and 
made necessary before our entrance into heaven. 
Christ hinnself our forerunner, and the ' captain of 
our salvation, was made perfect through his suffer- 
ings,' and was trained up for his throne on high by 
enduring the contradiction of sinners, and the variety 
of agonies which attended his life and death in this 
lower world, this stage of conflict and sufferings. See 
Heb. ii. 10. and xii. 1. 

Though'^we cannot pretend by our labours in the 
race to have merited the prize, yet we must labour 
through the race before we receive it. Our conflicts 
caRnot pretend to have deserved the crown which is 
promised, but we must fight the battles of the Lord 
before we obtain it. This was St. Paul's encourage- 
ment and hope, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. *' I have fought the 
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge 
will give me, and not to me only, but to all those 
who love his appearance." There is a great deal of 
divine wisdom in this appointment, that the children 
of God may be *' counted in this sense, worthy of 
his kingdom for which they also suffer," 2 Thes. i. 
5. and that the relish of those satisfactions may be 
doubled to all the sufferers. 

8. God yet further prepares and works up his peo- 
ple for heaven, by ' teaching them some of the em- 
ployments of the heavenly world, and initiating and 
inuring them to the practice thereof.' Is the ' con- 


templation of the blessed God' in his natur.e and his 
various perfections the business of glorified souls ? 
God teaches his children, whom he is trainins^ up for 
glory, to practise this holy contemplation : He fixes 
their thoughts upon the wonders of his nature and his 
grace, his works of creation and providence, the 
blessin[^s of his redeeming love by his Son Jesus, 
and the terrors of his justice which shaJl be executed 
by the same hand, while the soul at the same time 
can appeal to God with holy delight, ' My medita- 
tion of thee shall be sweet indeed,' O may I dwell 
for ever in the midst of thy light, and see all thy won- 
drous glories diffused around me, and make my joys 
everlasting ! 

Are we told that heaven consists also in " behold- 
ing the glory of Christ," John xvii. 24. And how hap- 
pily does God prepare his saints for this part of heaven, 
by filling their thoughts with the various graces and 
honours of Jesus the Saviour? And when they are in 
their lonely retirements, they trace the footsteps of 
their beloved through all his labours and sorrows in 
this mortal state, even from his cradle to his cross ; 
they follow him in their holy meditations to his 
agonies in the garden, to his anguish of soul there ; 
through all his sufferings in death, through the grave 
his bed of darkness, and trace him on still to his glo- 
rious resurrection, and to his ascent to his Father's 
house, when a bright cloud like a chariot bore him 
up to heaven with attending angels : ' This is mv 
beloved,' says the soul, and * this is my friend,' 
whom I shall see with joy in the upper world : He 


is altogether lovely, and he demands my highest 

Is it part of the happiness of heaven to * converse 
with the blessed God by holy addresses of acknow- 
ledgements and praise,' as it is described in Rev. 
iv. and v. and vii. *' They are before the throne of 
God day and night, and serve him in his temple," 
and join with holy joy to pronounce that divine song, 
*' Blessing and honour, and glory and power, be to 
him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb for 
ever and ever : Worthy art thou, O Lord, to re- 
ceive glory and honour, for thou hast created all 
things for thy pleasure ; Worthy is the Lamb that 
was slain to receive power, and riches, and strength, 
glory and blessing, for thou was slain, and hast re- 
deemed us unto God by thy blood out of every kin- 
dred and nation." Now it is evident that those 
v.hose hearts and lips are joyfully fitted to pro- 
nounce this holy song, and to join in this harmony, 
are fitted also for these blessed employments of the 
heavenly state : And yet at the same time they abase 
themselves in the dust of humility, and with the liv- 
ing creatures or angels they fall down before the 
throne, and with the elders they cast down their 
crowns at his foot, they confess themselves the sons 
of earth and dust, and would appear as nothing while 
God is all, Rev. iv. 9, 10. and v. 8. 

Are all the powers of glorified nature in heaven ac- 
t'.ve in the unknown services of God and Christ 
there ? So the saints are trained up for this service 
and this activity here on earth, by diligence and de- 


light in their less noble employments, the inferior 
labours and duties that providence demands of them 
here, whereby they are prepared for more glorious 
employment on high ; for heaven is no idle or unac- 
tive state. 

Do some of the satisfiictions of the heavenly world 
arise from the * sweet society of the blessed above, 
their fervent love to each other, their mutual delight 
in holy converse, the joy that arises in the heart of 
each upon a survey of the happiness of all the holy 
and blessed inhabitants ? Does benevolence and 
goodness of every kind overflow in the heavenly- 
world r' It is plain that God is training up his own 
children for this blessedness, by employing them in 
this manner while they are here below : He is in some 
measure fitted for this heaven, who can say, the 
* saints are the excellent of the earth, in whom is all 
my delight :' I love them from my soul, because they 
love my God and n^y Saviour. I see the image of 
the Father, and of Jesus his Son in them, and I can- 
not but love that image wheresoever I behold it. I 
feel myself ready to rejoice when my fellow chris- 
tians partake of joy, and I long for that temper of 
mind when I shall delight myself in the felicity of all 
my fellow saints in perfection, and shall make their 
heaven a part of my own. But I proceed not h>ere, 
because this would anticipate what I design hereaf- 

9. God is pleased to work up his people to a pre- 
paration fjr the heavenly state, by ' giving them a 
pledge and earnest of die blessedness of heaven,' that 


is, by sending his own Spirit into their hearts under 
this very character, both as the spring of divine hfe, 
and as the evidence of our hope, and sonierimes 
bestowing upon them such * foretastes of the heavenly 
world,' by the operations of his holy S irit, which 
are too joyful and glorious to be fully expressed in 
mortal language ; but we shall attempt something 
of it in another discourse. 

I proceed now to seek what inferences or edifying 
remarks may be made upon our meditations thus far. 

Rem, 1. We learn from my text * what are the 
brightest, the plainest, and the surest evidences of 
our interest in the heavenly blessedness : Are we 
trained up to it, and prepared for it?* Has the bles- 
sed God wrought up our souls to any hopeful degrees 
of this preparation : Has he in any measure made us 
meet for this inheritance of the saints in light ? 

I grant the scripture teaches us, that it is by a 
true and living faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, that 
we obtain a tide to eternal life, according to the pro- 
posals of the covenant of grace in the gospel ; but 
our preparation for heaven by a holy and heavenly 
temper of mind and conduct of life, is the fairest 
and most uncontested evidence of the truth and life 
of our fliith, and such a proof of it as will stand the 
test both in life and death, in this world, and in the 
world to come. If we would manifest our faith in 
Christ to be sincere and genuine and effectual for our 
salvation, we must make it appear that we are grow- 
ing up into the image of Christ in all things, we must 
be formed after the likeness of the Son of God^ who 


is our g-reat example, and our f )re-rnnner into heaven; 
and where this evidence is ffjund die soui cannot fail 
of salvation. Wheresoever there is this fivuess for 
the joys on high, God wiii assuredly besto'.v these 
divine pleasures. It is for such souls that he has 
prepared a heaven, and when he has prepared such 
souls for the heavenly world, he will suieiy bring 
them to the possession of it. 

Of how i^reat moment and importance is it then 
for each of us to examine ourselves with watchful 
diligence and sincerity, whether we are in any mea- 
sure fitted for the blessedness above : And to this 
end we may run over in our enquiries'all the former 
steps of preparation. 

Let us enquire of our souls then, Am I so fully 
persuaded of this state of future happiness, as to re- 
solve this shall be my aim, this my everlasting pur- 
suit? Have vve seen this blessedness in the various 
representations of it in the word of God, as the most 
amiable and desirable thing, and have we set our 
faces to travel thither with an holy purpose and de- 
termination, through grace, never to tire, or grow 
weary till we arrive at the enjoyment of it ? Have we 
fixed our hope and expectauon upon the blessed 
promises in the word, and are we by these pron^iises 
endeavouring daily to cleanse ourselves from all de- 
filements of ilesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in 
the fear of God ? Do we obtain any victories over our 
spiritual enen^ies, and maintain our pious conBiCls 
against all the oppositions which we mj-et with in our 
way ? Do we labour to surpress every rising ferrnant 

K 2 


of env3% pride, wrath, sensuality, and those corrupt 
appetites and passions which render us unfit for that 
holy and heavenly world : Are your hearts daily 
more mortified to the things of this world, th.e en- 
joyments of flesh and sense, which are not to be 
found in heaven? Are our hearts more weaned from 
the sensual satisfactions and intemperate delights of 
the animal life ! Are we dead to thetemptations of gold 
and silver, the grandeurs and the gaieties, and splen- 
dors of this present low life of flesh and blood, which 
are no part nor portion of the heavenly felicity ? Do 
we view the tempting things of this world ^^ ith an 
holy indifference, and possess and use them with af- 
fections so calm audi so cool, as becomes a rank of 
beings that have a nobler, a richer, and a more exalt- 
ed hope ? Have we found the labours and burdens, 
the sorrows and afflictions of the present state, hap- 
py instruments to prepare us for the blessedness 
above, by curing all our vain and carnal desires t 
Are we in any measure imitators of those who have 
gone before us through faith and patience, and are 
made possessors of the promised joy? Are we " fol- 
lo\>ers of God as dear children ?" Have we the im.- 
age of our heavenly Father created anew in us, and 
do we walk as our Lord Jesus Christ also walked, 
while he was in this wilderness travelling to his Fa- 
ther's house ? Are our earnest desires towards this 
sort of felicity excited and raised high ? Have we a 
strong tendency of soul to the holy enjryments of 
the upper world ? Do we sigh and groan after a com- 
plete freedom from sin, and a deliverance from ev- 



erj^ temptation ? Do we employ ourselves with plea- 
sure in the work and business of heaven, in the holy' 
contemplation of God, in a delightful survey of the ' 
person and offices of his Son Jesus, his wondrous 
condescension, and his amazing compassion ? Do we 
take pleasure in conversing with God our Father by 
holy addresses of praise and tfrnnkfulness ? Do we 
love all the saints, and delight in their society, and 
do we rejoice to spend our time with them in heaven- 
ly conversation, though they may be amongst the 
lower ranks of life here on earth ? And do v\e dif- 
fuse our love through all who wear the image of God, 
and take a pleasing satisfliction of soul in their in- 
crease in holiness, and rejoice in their joys ? 

If God has thus fitted thee, O Christian, in this 
manner for the mansions of the happy world, then 
surely he has set thee apart for himself, he has be- 
gun eternal life in thee, the dawn of eternal glory is 
risen upon thee, and he will bring thee into the com- 
plete noon of blessedness, into the overflowing light 
of divine beatitudes. '* Arise and shine" O Christian, 
for thy light is come, '* the glory of the Lord is risen 
upon thee ;" thou hast no need to ascend into heaven 
to search for thy evidences among the decrees of God, 
and to pry into the rolls of electing grace ; for if 
thou hast b.een transformed into an heavenly temper, 
thy name is surely written in the Lamb's book of 
life ; heaven is begun within thee, and God will 
fulfil his own work. 

Rem. 2. ' What a solid comfort is it to poor 
mourning, troubled, afflicted souls under all their 


sorrrras, their frailties, their temptations, and iiifir- 
mities here on earth, that they have a clear evidenc-e 
of heaven within them.' This is such a peace as Je- 
sus Christ left to his disciples by legacy, John xiv. 
27. '*Such as the world cannot give," and such as 
the world cannot take away. 

This is a spi ine of constant and divine consolation 
to those who seem to be worn out with old age or 
infirmities of nature, and they complain they are fit 
-for no service in this world ; but if they can feel in 
themselves this holy fitness for the enjoyments of 
heaven, they have a rich and living fountain of plea- 
sure in their own breasts, ever springing, ever flow- 
ing, and such as will f)ll')w them with daily supplies 
of pleasure, if they are not wanting to themselves, 
through all this wilderness, till they arrive at that 
land were all the rivers of blessing meet and join in 
a fail stream, to make the inhabitants for ever hap- 

It may be, O Christian, thou art afraid that thou 

hast felt but little of this divine preparation ; thou 
seest so many defects in thyself daily, so much un- 
likeness to God, so much working of iniquity, such 
restless efforts of the body of sin, so much prevalence 
of temptation, so much coldness in duty, such dead- 
ness in acts of devotion, such frequent returns of 
guilt and pain in a tender conscience, and so many 
enemiei^ to struggle with every step of thy way to 
heaven, that thou art greatly discouraged and afraid 
this divine preparation is not wrought in thee. En- 
quire then yet further, are all these nielancholy 


scenes both within and without, the matter of thy 
sincere tJ^rief and burden ? Canst thou say in this 
tabernacle, I ^roan, bein^ burdened with the body 
of sin, as well as with the frailties and pains of na- 
ture ! Canst thou sav sincerely, that thy inmost de- 
sires are towards God and his e^lory in the present 
life, and towards his enjoyment in the life to come 1 
Dost thou mainiain a constant converse with heaven 
as well as thou canst, though it be so much broken, 
and so often painfully interrupted? Hast thou a con- 
tinual and sett'ed aversion and hatred to sin, and a 
holy jealousy and fear of its defilements ? Hast thou 
a restless breathing of soul af^.er greater likeness to 
God, and greater communion with him ? Dost thou 
delight in spiritual and holy conversation ; and does 
thy zeal for the honour of God and his Son Jesus, 
carry thee forth to those actions which are suitable 
to thy station, for the advancement of religion in the 
world ? Be assured then that God is training thee 
up for this heavenly state, and has in some measure 
prepared thee for it. God has begun in thee the busi- 
ness and blessedness of the upper world. In the 
midst of all thy sorrows and complaints here below, 
peace be wiih thee, and joy in the Lord, for thy 
salvation and thy felicity shall be compleated. 

Ilem. 3. 'How vain, and idle, and unreasonable 
are all the hopes of sinners, that they shall ever ar- 
rive at heaven without any preparation for it here?' 
There is nothing divine and holy- begun in them in 
this world, ar.d yet they hope to be made happy in 
the world that is to come ; there is nothing of true 


g'-ace in their hearts here, and yet they vainly expect 
to be made perfect in pleasure and glory hereafter. 

Think with thyself, O carnal creature, that hea- 
ven will be a burden to thee; the powers, the appe- 
tites, and passions of thy sinful nature, will not suf- 
fer thee to relish the joys of the heavenly state. 
Dost thou imagine that a worm or serpent of the 
earth, or a swine which is ever tumbling in the mire, 
can be entertained with the golden ornaments and 
splendors of a palace ? Or will the stupid ass be de- 
lighted with the harmony of a harp or viol ? No more 
can a soul of a carnal and sensual taste, and which is 
ever seeking and groveling after earthly gratifica- 
tions, be pleased or gratified with the refined enjoy- 
ments of the heavenly world. Thou must have a 
new nature, new appetites and affections, ere thou 
canst partake of divine joys, or relish them if thou 
wert placed in the midst of them. Holy adoration of 
God, and humble converse with him in worship, 
converse with the saints about divine things, per- 
fect purity and devotion, with the meditation of the 
excellencies of Christ, and the sight of him in his 
ordinances, have never yet been the object of thy 
delight or joy ; nay they have rather been thine aver- 
sion ; and shouldst thou have the gates of heaven open 
before thee, and see what business the holy souls 
there are employed in, thou wouldst find no desire 
to such sort of satisfactions ; the place and the com- 
pany would be thy burden, if thou couldst be let at 
oiice into the midst of them. 


Think again, O sinful wretch, thy carnality of 
soul, thy supreme love of sensual and brutual joys, 
the secret malice or envy, the pride and impiety of 
thy heart, have prepared thee for another sort of com- 
pany ; thou art fitted for hell by the very temper of 
thy spirit, for such are the inhabitants of that misera- 
ble world, and in thy present state there can be no 
admission for thee into heaven. Thou hast treasur- 
ed up food for the worm that never dies, for the eter- 
nal anguish of conscience; thou hast made thyself 
fit fuel by indulgence of thy sinful and rebellious ap- 
petites and passions, for the fiery indignation of God; 
and every day thou persistest in this state, thy pre- 
paration for the dark regions of sin and sorrow is in- 
creased. But this leads me to the last remark. 

Rem, A'. * How dangerous a thing it is for a sinner 
to continue a day longer in a state so unprepared for 
the heavenly world.' Dost thou not know, whilst 
we are inhabitants in these region? of mortality, we 
are borderers upon death ; and if we are unprepared 
for heaven, we are borderers upon damnation and 
hell ? Our life is but a vapour, and the next puff 
raay blovv us'- away into the regions of everlasting 
darkness, misery, and despair. 

Alas ! How much of this divine preparation do tlse 
best of saints stand in need of for an immediate en- 
trance into heaven ? What care do they take, how 
constant are their labours, and how fervent their 
prayers to increase in this divine fitness, in these ho- 
ly and heavenly qualifications ? And dost thou vairJy 
imagifie to exchau^i^e earth for luruven at once, and 


to be recerved into the pure and holy mansions of 
paradise without ativ conformitj^ to God or Christ, or 
the rest of the inhabitants of that world ? 

Objection. But some id e and slothful creatures will 
be reaciy to oLject and say, if it be God who creates 
hib people anew, according to his own image, and 
fits them for heaven : if we must be wrought up by 
his power and grace for the participation of this 
glory, what can we do tou ards it ourselves ? Or why 
are we charged and exhorted to prepare ourselves 
for heaven ? Since then it is God must do this work, 
why may we not lie still, and wait till his grace shall 
prepare us ? 

I answer, no, by no means ; for God is wont to 
exert his grace only Vchile creatures are in the use of 
his appointments, and fi.lfil their duty. This lan- 
guage therefore, and these excuses, seem to be the 
mere cavils of a carnal mind, or the voice of sloth and 
indolence. Those who have no inclination to pre- 
pare themselves for the joys of the heavenly state, 
may wait and expect divine influences in vain, if 
they will never stir up themselves to practise what is 
in their own power, and to attempt what the gospel 
of grace demands. 

In almost all the trausactions of God with men, it 
is the way of his wisdom to join our diligence and 
his grace together ; and there are many Scriptures 
that give us sufficient -notice of this. See how St. 
Paul argues with the Philippians, and stirs them up 
to zeal and activity in securing their own salvation 
by tlie hope of divine assistances: Phil. ii. 12, 13, 


*' Work out your own salvation, for it is God that 
worketh in you both to will and to do." So said 
David to his son Solomon, when he appointed him 
to build the temple of the Lord, 1 Chron. xxviii. 
20. '* Be strong and of good courage, and do it, — 
for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee, 
^ and will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou 
hast finished all the work." This was the charge 
also that God gave to his people Israel, Lev. xx. 7, 
8. ''Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy, keep my 
statutes; I am the Lord who sanctifieth you." So 
the Psalmist tells us, Psal. iv. 3. " The Lord hath set 
apart, or separated him who is ^ocWy for himself;" . 
and yet, 2 Cor. vi. 17. The Lord commands his peo- 
ple to ''separate themselves" unto him, to "come out 
from amongst" the sinners of this world ; and " be 
you separate," saith the Lord, " and I will receive 
you." So in other places of Scripture, divine wis- 
dom commands sinners to fulfil their duty, Prov. i, 
23. " Turn 3e at my reproof:" And yet in the 80th 
Psalm, the church prays, " Turn us, O Lord, and 
we shall be saved." The case is very much the 
same even in the things that relate to this life, where- 
in divine assistance and blessing are connected with 
our dilitceuce in duty. Solomon tells us, Prov. x. 4. 
"The hand of the diligent maketh rich;" and yet 
ver. 22. It is " the blessing of the Lord that maketh 
rich also." We can never expect the fiivours of 
heaven, unless we are zealous to obey the commands 
of heaven. 

s 2 


When the sinful children of men are found waiting 
on God in his own appointed ordinances, then they 
are in the fairest way to receive divine communica- 
tions, and be transformed into saints. If the blind 
man had not obe} ed the voice of Christ, John ix. 7. 
and washed himself * in the pool of Siloam,' he 
could not expect to have received his eye-sight. If the 
man with the withered hand, Matth. xii. 10, 13. had 
not used his own endeavours to * stretch forth his 
hand' at the command of Christ, I can hardly believe 
it would have been restored to its ancient vigour and 
usefulness. If the poor impotent creature had not 
been waiting at the side of the ' pool in Bethesda,' 
h}hi\ V. he had not met with the blessed Jesus, nor 
been healed by his miraculous power. You will say, 
perhaps, that our blessed Saviour could have visited 
him in his own house, could have directed his jour- 
ney towards his habitation, or have sent for him into 
the public, and healed him there. No, our Lord did 
not choose either of these ways ; but while the man 
was waiting at the pool, where he had encourage- 
ment to hope for a cure, there the Lord found him, 
and healed him. 

Let not any presuming smner therefore, who is sen- 
sible of his own unfitness for heaven, dare to continue 
in a careless indifference about so important a con- 
cern : Let him not put ofl' his own conscience with 
this foolish excuse, * It is God must do all in us and 
for us, and therefore I will do nothing myself.' Dost 
thou think, O soul, that this will be a sufficient an- 
swer to him that shall judge thee in the great and 


solemn day ? May you not expect to hear the Judge 
reply terribly to such an excuse, ' You never sought 
after this (^reparation for heaven, and you must be 
pluHiJjed into hell, fc.r which your own rebellion and 
slotlifulness hath prepared you.' 

But perhaps you will object again, what can so 
feeble, so sinful a creature as I am, do towards this 
divine work ? 

I ansiver, Canst thou not separate one quarter of 
an hour daily to think of thy dreadful circumstances, 
and thine eternal danger in a sinful and defiled state 
of soul ? Think of the uncertainty of life, and how 
sudden thy summons may be into the eternal and un- 
changeable state. Survey thyself in thy sinful con- 
dition both of heart and life, and see how unfit thou 
art for the company of all the holy ones above. Me- 
ditate on these thy perilous circumstances, till thy 
heart be deeply affected therewith ; fall down before 
God in humble acknowledgment of thy former guilt 
and pollutions: Give up thyself to him with holy so- 
lemnity, to have thy heart turned away from every 
sin, and strongly inclined to holiness and heaven. 
Commit thy soul, guilty and defiled as it is, into the 
hands of Jesus the Mediator ; entrust thy case with 
him as an all-sufficient Saviour; entreat that he 
would cleanse thee from all thy guilt and pollution, 
by the blood of his sacrifice, and the grace of his 
Spirit; that blood of atonement which has procured 
for sinners pardon and peace with God, and those 
operations of his grace which may sanctify thy sinful 
nature. Address thyself to the exalted Saviour for 


healing influences from his hand, to cure all the 
maladies of thy soul, to form thee after his image, 
and to make thee a son of God. Pray with holy 
importunity for this necessary and divine blessing, 
wait on God in secret and in public ; give him no 
rest night nor da}' till he has renewed thy soul, and 
transformed thee into a new creature, and given thee 
a relish of the heavenly enjoyments: Dwell at the 
throne of grace till thou feelest thy heart drawn up- 
ward and heavenward, and watch agafnst every thing 
that would defile thy soul anew, or make thee unfit 
to enter into the company of the blessed. 

Permit me here to dwell a little upon those mo- 
ihes that should awaken thee to bethink thyself ere it 
be too late, before the grave has shut its mouth up- 
on thee, and thou art consigned to the place of eter- 
nal misery. Awake, awake, O impenitent sinners, 
who are as yet unprepared for the business and bless- 
edness of the heavenly state ; awake and exert your 
souls in warmest reflections on matters of infinite 

(1.) Think with yourselves how much the great 
God has done towards the preparation of sinful men 
for this heaven ; think seriously of his long-suffering 
goodness, and his sparing mercy, which should have 
led you long ago to a melting sense of your own folly, 
and brought you back unto him by humble repen- 
tance. For what reason were his patience and his 
long suffering exercised towards you, if not for this 
very puri)ose ? Rom. ii. 4. Think of the blessings 
of nature v/ilh which he lias surrounded vou, and 


the comforts of this life wherewith he has furnished 
you, in order to allure your thoughts towards him, 
who is the spring of all goodness ; and to raise your 
desires towards him: It is he invites you, who will 
be the everlasting portion and happiness of his peo- 
ple, and in whose favour consists life and felicity; and 
dare not any longer neglect your preparation for this 
happiness, which consists in the enjoyment of God, 
lest you should be cut off before you are prepared. 

(2.) Consider again what Jesus the Son of God 
has done and suffered, and consider what he is vet 
doing towards the preparation of souls for heaven : 
He came down to our world to undertake the glori- 
ous and dreadful work of the redemption of sinners 
from the curse of the law and the terrors of hell, and 
to procure a heaven for every rebellious creature that 
would return to God his Father. Think of the agon- 
ies of his death with which he purchased mansions 
of glory for those that receive his grace in his own 
appointed methods, those that are willing to have 
their hearts and minds formed into a suitable frame 
to receive this felicity. Remember that he is risen 
from the dead, he is ascended to prepare a place in 
glory for those that are willing to follow him through 
the paths of holiness. Hearken to the many kind in- 
vitations and allurements of his gospel, which calls 
to the worst of sinners to return ' and live, and en- 
treats and exhorts those who are in the ends of the 
earth, and upon the borders of hell, '' to look unto 
him that they may be saved," Isa. xlv. 22. Take 
heed that you suffer not these seasons of his inviting 

love to slide away and vanish unimproved ; take 
heed how you rebel against the language of the grace 
of his gospel, and thereby prepare yourselves for 
double and everlasting destruction. 

(3.) Think again, what blessed assistances he has 
proposed to those who are desirous to be trained up 
for heaven ; how many thousand souls, as carnal, as 
sensual, and as criminal as yours are, have been re- 
covered by the word of his gospel, and the influ- 
ences of his Spirit, to a new nature and life of holi- 
ness ? How many are there who from children of 
wrath, have become the sons and daup;hters of the 
most hi.£i;h God, heirs of this blessedness, and pre- 
pared for the enjoyment of it ? O take heed that you 
resist not this grace, nor rebel against the kind and 
sacred motions of the blessed Spirit within you, when 
his very office and business is to change your sinful 
natures, and to prepare you for the regions of eter- 
nal holiness and peace. 

(4.) Think yet further what advantages you have 
had from the weekly ministrations of the word of 
grace, from reading the book of God in your own 
language, and from the pious education many of you 
have enjoyed in the fam.ilies from vvhence you sprung. 
Think what awakening hints you have received by 
the inward conviction of your own consciences, and 
by the christian friends you may have conversed 
with: Have you not been told plainly enough by the 
voice of cons( ience, that you are now utterly unpre- 
pared for heaven ? Have not public and private ad- 
moniiions given you sufficient warning of the danger 


Df your present state > And after all this will you pro- 
iceed in your own sinful course till you arrive at the 
very gates of hell and destruction, till you have 
prepared yourselves, and made your souls ripe for 
the vengeance of God, and are plunged into it by 
death without remedy or relief? 

(5.) Consider how dreadful will your state be if 
death meet you in all your guilt and defilements, un- 
washed, unpardoned, and unsanctified, without any 
garment of righteousness, without any robe of salva- 
tion. What a terrible sentence is that which death 
will pronounce upon every such sinner the moment 
that he strikes their heart ? Hear it and tremble, O 
miserable creature, hear the formidable and eternal 
sentence, ** Let him that is unholy be unholy still :'* 
Let him that is unprepared for heaven go down to 
the regions of death and hell, for which his iniquities 
have best prepared him. 

(6.) Think with yourselves, if you have any thing 
of importance to do in this world, or have any mo. 
mentuous scene of life to pass through, how diligent 
are you in preparation for it. If you are but to visit 
the court of a prince, or to go to make your ad- 
dresses to any great man of honour and pov^er, or 
to be admitted into any numerous society of a su- 
perior character, how diligently do you endeavour 
to furnish yourselves with such knowledge of the 
common ceremonies of life, and such ornaments 
about your body as may render you acceptable 
amongst those whom you are going to converse with: 
And does n(.^t an entrance into the court of heaven, 


into the presence of a God of holiness, and into the 
society of pure and blessed spirits, require some so-, 
licitude and care about those ornaments and qualifi- 
cations which are necessary for so solemn and glori- 
ous an appearance? If you are designing in this life to 
commence any trade or business for your employ- 
ment and your support, you are willing to serve an 
apprenticeship of seven years in order to a prepara- 
tion for the exercise of this public business ; and can 
you not afford one day in a week to learn the busi- 
ness of heaven, and to prepare for the blessedness 
of it? 

And let parents also consider with themselves what 
pains they have taken that their children may be fit 
for the trades and employments of life to which they 
design them, and then let each enquire of their own 
consciences, have I ever done so much to train up 
my son for the heavenly world, to fit him for the ap- 
pearance before God, and saints and angels, and for 
all the unknown services of that celestial country ? 

(7.) Go on yet futher, O impenitent sinners, and 
consider with yourselves what a blessedness it is to 
be prepared for heaven ; for then you are prepared 
for death, and at once you take away all the terrors 
of it. O what an unspeakable happiness is it to pass 
through this world daily without the fear of dying ; 
what is it that makes life so bitter to multitudes of 
souls, and every malady or accident so frightful to 
them, but the perpetual terrors of death ? Think 
what a divine satisfaction it is to walk up and down 
in this desert land, ready prepared for an entrance. 


into the land of promise, the inheritance of the saints 
in light : Think of the solid joy and inward consola* 
tion of those souls who feel in themselves an habi- 
tual readiness for a departure hence, and who are 
wrought up by divine grace to a preparation for the 
business and the joys above. Think of the victory over 
death, which is obtained by such a readiness for hea- 
ven, and how glorious a thing it is to meet that last 
enemy the king of terrors, and encounter him with- 
out fear, and to triumph over him with divine lan- 
guage, '' O death, where is thy sting?" How joyful a 
scene would it be to take leave of all our friends in: 
this land of mortality, with an assured hope that we 
are entering into a happier climate and a better coun- 
try, ready prepared for all the more glorious scenes 
that shall meet us in the invisible world ? 

It is an amazing thing to me, how the children of 
men, who are dying daily off from this stage of life, 
who must all shortly die, and enter into a world of 
eternal futurity, should be no more concerned about 
a preparation for their departure hence : That they 
should be so stupidly thoughtless of a world to come, 
while they are on the very borders of it, and eternal 
joy or eternal sorrow depends upon this one qo^stion, 
* Am I prepared for heaven or not?' O these two aw- 
ful regions of the unseen world ; where the love of 
God shines with its brightest glories, or where the 
vengenance of God is discovered in all its anguish 
and horror? One of these will be the certain and eter= 
nal dwelling place of the souls that are prepared for 
them, and there must they pass their long immorta- 

T 2 


lity, either in joy or in sorrow, without a change ; 
and yet the foolish and besotted tribes of mankind 
seem to have abandoned all thought and concern 
about them. A dangerous lethargy, or distraction I 

What shall we do to cure sinners of this madness ? 
Shall I try to rouse these indolent unthinking wretches 
out of their dangerous and mortal slumbers with the 
loudest voice of thunder and divine terror ? But the 
lethargy of sin is proof against all these terrors and 
thunders. Shall I call for a fountain of tears into my 
eyes, and weep over them with the tenderest sympa- 
thy and compassion ? But they feel not any meltings 
of pity for themselves, nor are their hearts to be sof- 
tened by all our tears and waitings. Shall I beseech 
them in the name of Christ by the bowels of his dy- 
ing love, and the blood and anguish of his sufferings 
for our salvation ? But even these divine and aston- 
ishing instances of tenderness and mercy make no 
impression on their souls. While Satan holds them 
in his chains, they are sleeping the sleep of death. 
O for a word of Sovereign and Almighty Grace to 
reach the centre of their spirits ! To shake all the 
powers of their nature! To awaken them to behold 
their eternal interest ! And to prepare for heavenly 
felicity. Awake, O sleepers, ere the angel of death 
seize you, and the grave shut its mouth upon you ; 
then all your seasons and hopes of fnercy are cut off 
for ever, and you will awake hopeless immortals. 

I shall conclude this discourse with one word of 
exhortation to those who are in any measure wrought 
up to a preparation for the heavenly blessedness. O 


happy creature ! Whatsoever pains you have taken, 
whatever conflicts you have endured in the matter 
of your own salvation, yet let God and his grace have 
all the honour of this work. It is to God you owe 
your sacrifices of praise, ' He that hath wrought 
you up for this felicity is God.' It was he who 
awakened you first, and set you a thinking of your 
most important concerns : It was he that led you first 
into the way of salvation by Jesus Christ his Son, 
and hath thus far crowned your labours and your 
prayers with success and blessing. Every stumbling- 
block in your way might have thrown you down to 
perdition : Every temptation might have turned you 
back from this glorious pursuit : Every enemy of 
your souls might have discouraged or overcome you, 
if God and his grace had not been engaged on your 

It is he hath upheld you when you were falling, 
he hath taken you by the hand and led you right on- 
ward when you were wandering, and he hath sup- 
ported you by his divine cordials of promise when 
you were fainting. It is God who hath enabled you 
to maintain your conflict with all the mighty obstacles 
of your faith and hope; it is his grace hath renewed 
your nature, hath weaned you from this vain flatter- 
ing world, and given you a sacred relish of divine 
blessedness. It is he who hath formed you again 
after his own image, and hath trained you up, and 
made you meet for the inheritance of the saints in 
light. Call up all your powers to praise his good- 
ness, and say, ** Bless the Lord, O my soul, and 


all that is within me, bless his holy name : Bless the 
Lord for ever, and forget not all his benefits." * It 
is God who hath called mc out of darkness into his 
marvellous light, and given me to see the things that 
belong to my everlasting peace. It is God who wash- 
ed away my iniquities in the blood of his own Son, 
and hath renewed me unto holiness by his blessed Spi- 
rit. It is God who hath taken me out of the family of 
sin and Satan, and given me a place among his chil- 
dren ; who hath begun to prepare me for the joys and 
blessings of heaven, and in bis own time he will fulfil 
all my hopes, and complete my felicity.' Walk before 
him w^ith all holy care and watchfulness, and * take 
heed that you lose not the things which you have 
wrought,' nor the things which God hath wrought 
in you, but that, persevering to the end, * you may 
receive the full reward,' and obtain the crown of ever- 
lasting life* Acien. 


Rev. xxi. 4. 

Neither shall there he any more pain, 

THERE have been some divines in ancient times, 
as well as in our present age, who suppose this pro- 
phecy relates to some glorious and happy event here 
on earth, wherein the saints and faithful followers of 
Christ shall be delivered from the bondage and mise- 
ries to which they have been exposed in all former 
ages, and shall enjoy the blessing which these words 
promise. Among these writers some have placed 
this happy state before the resurrection of the t)ody ; 
others make it to belong to that * first resurrection' 
ivhich is spoken of in Rev. xx. 6. But let this pro- 
phecy have a particular aspect upon what earthly 
period soever, yet all must grant it is certainly true 
concerning the * heavenly state;' from whose feli- 
cities, taken in the literal sense, these figurative 
expressions are derived to foretel the happiness of 
any period of the church in this world ; and in this 
sense, as ' part of our happiness in heaven,' I shall 
understand the words here, and propose them as the 
foundation for my present discourse. 


Among the many things that make this life uncom- 
fortable, and render mankind unhappy here below, 
this is one that has a large influence, viz. that * in 
this mortal state we are all liable to pain,' from which 
we shall be perfectly delivered in the life to come. 
The Greek word which is here translated pain, sig- 
nifies also toil SLnd/aligue and excessive labour of the 
body, as well as anguish and vexation of the spirit : 
But since in the two other places of the New Testa- 
ment where it is used, the word most properly signi- 
fies the * pain of the body,' I presume to understand 
it chiefly in this sense also in my text. 

I need not spend time in explaining * what pain is* 
to persons who dwell in flesh and blood : There is 
not one of you in this assembly but is better acquain- 
ted with the nature of it by the sense of feeling, than 
it is possible for the wisest philosopher to inform you 
by all his learned language. Yet that I may proceed 
regularly, I would just give you this short descrip- 
tion of it. ' Pain is an uneasy perception of the 
soul, occasioned by some indisposition of the body 
to which it is united ;' whether this arise from some 
disorder or malady in the flesh itself, or from some 
injury received from without by wounds, bruises, or 
any thing of the like kind. Now this sort of uneasy 
sensations is not to be found or feared in heaven. 

In order to make our present meditations on this 
part of the ' blessedness of heaven' useful and joyful 
to us while we are here on earth, let us enquire, 

I. What are the evils or grand inconveniencies that 
generally flow fram the pains we suffer here ; and as 


we go we shall survey the satisfactions which arise 
by our freedom from them all in heaven. 

II. What just and convincing proofs may be given 
that there are no such uneasy sensations to be felt in 
heaven, or to be feared after this life. 

III. What are the chief reasons or designs of the 
blessed God in sending pain on his creatures in this 
world ; and at the same time I shall shew that pain 
is banished from the heavenly state, because God has 
no such designs remaining to be accomplished in that 

IV. What lessons we may learn from the painful 
discipline which we feel while we are here, in order 
to shew there is no need of such discipline to teach 
us those lessons in heaven, let us address ourselves 
to make these four enquiries in their order. 


First. * What are the evils which flow from pain, 
and usually attend it in this life;' and all along as 
we go we shall take a short view of the heavenly 
state, where we shall be released from all these evils 
and inconveniencies. 

1. ' Pain has a natural tendency to make the mind 
sorrowful as well as the body uneasy.' Our souls 
are so nearly united to flesh and blood, that it is not 
possible for the mind to possess perfect happiness 
and ease, while the body is exposed to so many 
occasions of pain. It is grar^ted, that natural courage 
and strength of heart may prevail in some persons to 


bear up their spirits under long and intense pains of 
the flesh, yet they really take away so much of the 
ease and pleasure of life, while any of us lie under 
the acute sensations of them. Pain will make us 
confess that we are flesh and blood, and force us 
sometimes to cry out and groan. Even a stoick in 
spite of all the pride of his philosophy, will sometimes 
be forced, by a sigh or a groan to confess himself a 
a nian. What are the greatest part of the groans 
and outcries that are heard all round this our globe 
of earth but the effects of pain, either felt or feared? 
But in heaven, where there is no pain, there shall 
be no sighing or groaning, nor any more crying, as 
my text expresses. There shall be nothing to make 
the flesh or the spirit uneasy, and to break the eter- 
nal thread of peace and pleasure that runs through 
the whole duration of the saints : Not one painful 
moment to interrupt the everlasting felicity of that 
state. When we have done with earth and mortality, 
we have done also with sickness and anguish of na» 
ture, and with all sorrow and vexation for ever. There 
are no groans in the heavenly world to break in up- 
on the harmony of the harps and the songs of the 
blessed ; no sighs, no outcries, no anguish there to 
disturb the music and the joy of the inhabitants. 
And though the soul shall be united to'^the body, 
new-raised from the dead, to dwell for ever in union, 
yet that new- raised body shall have neither any 
springs of pain in it, nor be capable of giving an- 
guish or uneasiness to the indwelling spirit for ever. 


2. Another evil which attends on pain is this, that 
* it so indisposes our nature as often to unfit us for 
the businesses and duties of the present state.' With 
how much coldness and indifferency do we go about 
our daily work, and perform it too with many inter- 
ruptions, when nature is burdened with continual 
pain, and the vital springs of action are overborne with 
perpetual uneasiness? What a listlessness do we find 
to many of the duties of religion at such a season, 
unless it 5e to run more frequently to the throne of 
God, and pour out our groanings and our complaints 
there > Groanings and cries are the language of na- 
ture, and the children of God address themselves 
in this language to their heavenly Father : Blessed 
be the name of our gracious God, who hears every 
secret sigh, who is acquainted with the sense of every 
groan, while we mourn before him, and make our 
complaints to him, that we cannot worship him, nor 
work for him as we would do, because of the anguish 
and maladies of nature. 

And what an indisposition and backwardness do 
we feel in ourselves to fulfil many of the duties to- 
wards our fellow creatures while we ourselves are un- 
der present smart and anguish ? Pain will so sensi- 
bly affect self as to draw oft' all our thoughts thi- 
ther, and centre them there, that we cannot so much 
employ our cares and our active powers for the be- 
nefit of our neighbours : It abates our concern for 
our friends, and while it awakens th^ spirit within 
us into keen sensations, it takes away the activity 
of the man that feels it from almost all the services 




of human life. When human nature bears so much 
it can act but Ihtle. 

But what a blessed state will that be when we shall 
never feel this indisposition to duties, either human 
or divine, through any uneasiness of the body ? 
When we shall never more be subject to any of 
these painful impediments, but for ever cast off all 
those clogs and burdens which fetter the active pow- 
ers of the soul ? Then we shall be joyfully employ- 
ed in such unknown and glorious services to God 
our Father, and to the blessed Jesus, aB require 
much superior capacities to what we here possess, 
and shall find no weakness, no weariness, no pain 
throughout all the years of our immortality, Rev. vii. 
15. None of the blessed above are at rest or idle, 
cither " day or night, but they serve him in his tem- 
ple," and never cease, and iv. 8. No faintness, no 
languors are known there. The ** inhabitants of that 
land shall not say, I am sick :" Everlasting vigour, 
cheerfulness and ease shall render every blessed soul 
for ever zealous and active in obedience, as the an- 
gels are in heaven, 

3. ' Pain unfits us for the enjoyments of life, as 
well as for the labours and duties of it.* It takes 
away all the pleasing satisfactions which might at- 
tend our circumstances, and renders the objects of 
them insipid and unrelishing. What pleasure can a 
rich man take in all the affluence of earthly blessings 
around him, while some painful distemper holds him 
upon the rack, and distresses him with the torture ? 
How little delight can he find in meats or in drinks 
which are prepared for luxury when sharp pain calls 


all his attention to the diseased part ? What joy can 
he find in magnificent buildings, in gay and shining 
furniture, in elegant gardens, or in all the glitter- 
ing treasures of the Indies, when the gout torments 
his hands and his feet, or the rheumatism afflicts his 
limbs with intense anguish ^ If pain attacks any part 
of the body and rises to a high degree, the luxuries 
of life grow tasteless, and life itself is embittered to 
us : Or when pains less acute are prolonged through 
weeks and months, and perhaps stick in our flesh all 
the night as well as in the day ; how vain and feeble 
are all the efforts of the bright and gay things around 
us to raise the soul into cheerfulness ? Therefore So- 
lomon calls old age the ** years wherein there is no 
pleasure," Eccles. xii. 1. Because so many aches 
and ails in that season pursue us in a continual suc- 
cession ; so many infirmities and painful hours at- 
tend us usually in that stage of life, even in the best 
situation that mortality can boast of, as cuts off and 
destroys all our pleasures. 

But O what a wondrous, what a joyful change 
shall that be, when the soul is commanded to forsake 
this flesh and blood, When it rises as on the wings of 
angels to the heavenly world, and leaves every pain 
behind it, together with the body in the arms of death? 
And what a riiore illustrious and delightful change 
shall we meet in the great rising day, when our bo- 
dies shall start up out of the dust with vigoroui> im- 
mortality, and without any spring or seat of pain ? 
All the unknown enjoyments with which heaven is 
furnished^ shall be taken iu by the enlarged powers 


of the soul with intense pleasure, and not a moment's 
pain shall ever interrupt them. 

4. Another inconvenience and evil which belongs 
to pain is, that * it makes time and life itself appear 
tedious and tiresome, and adds a new burden to all 
other grievances*' Many evidences of this truth are 
scattered throughout all nature, and on all sides of 
this globe. There is not one age of mankind but 
can furnish us with millions of instances. In what 
melancholy language does Job discover his sensations 
of the tiresome nature of pain ? ** I am made to pos- 
sess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are ap- 
pointed to me: When I lie down I say, when shall 
I rise and the night be gone ? And I am full of toss- 
ing to and fro unto the dawning of the day," Job vii. 
3. When pain takes hold of our flesh, it seems to 
stretch the measures of time to a tedious length: We 
cry out as Moses expresses it, Dcut. xxviii. 67. **In 
the morning we say, would to God it were evening; 
and at the return of the evening we say again, would 
to God it were morning." 

Long are those hours indeed, whether of day- 
light or darkness, wherein there is no relief or inter- 
mission of acute pain. How tiresome a thing is it to 
count the clock at midnight in long successions, and 
to wait every hour for the distant approach of mom- 
ing, while our eyes are unable to close themselves 
in slumber, and our anguish admits not the common 
refuge of sleep. There are multitudes among the 
race of mortals who haye known these truths by sore 


experience. Blessed be God that we do not always 
feel them. 

But when we turn our thoughts to the heavenly- 
world, where there is no pain, there we shall find no 
weary hours, no tedious days, though eternity with 
all its unmeasurable lengths of duration lies before 
us. What a dismal thought is eternal pain ? The 
very mention of it makes nature shudder and stand 
aghast ; but futurity with all its endless years, in a 
land of peace and pleasure gives the soul the most 
delightful prospect, for there is no shadow of un- 
easiness in that state to render our abode there tire- 
some, or to think the ages of it long. 

5. Another evil that belongs to pain is, that * it has 
an unhappy tendency to ruffle the passions, and to 
fender us fretful and peevish within ourselves, as well 
as towards those who are round about us.' Even the 
kindest and the tenderest hand that ministers to our 
relief, can hardly secure itself from the peevish quar- 
rels of a man in extreme pain. 

Not that we are to suppose that this peevish hur 
mour, this fretfulness of spirit are thereby made inno^ 
cent and perfectly excused : No, by no means ; but 
it must be acknowledged still that continuance in pain 
is too ready to work up the spirit into frequent dis- 
quietude and eagerness: We are tempted to fret at 
every thing, we quarrel with every thing, we grow 
impatient under every delay, angry with our best 
friends, sharp and sudden in our resentments, with 
wrathful speeches breaking out of our lips. 


This peevish humour in a day of pain is so com- 
mon a fault, that I fear it is too much excused and 
indulged. Let me rather say with mybeif, * My God 
is now putting me to the trial what sort of Christian 
lam, and how much I have learnt of self govern- 
ment, and through his grace I will subdue my uneasy 
passions, though I cannot relieve my pain.' O it is 
a noble point of honour gained in a sick chamber, or 
on a bed of anguish, to lie pressed with exii erne pain, 
and yet maintain a serenity and calmness of soul; ta 
be all meekness and gentleness and patience among 
our friends or attendants, under the sharp twinges of 
it ; to utter no rude or angry language, and to take 
every thing kindly that they say or do, and '' become 
like a weaned child.'* But such a character is not 
found in every house. 

A holy soul, through the severity of pain, may 
sometimes in such an hour be too much ruffled by 
violent and sudden fits of impatience. This proceed- 
ed to such a degree even in that good man Job, un- 
der his various calamities and the sore boils upon his 
fiesh, that it made him ** curse the day wherein he was 
born," and cry out in the anguish of his spirit, '* my 
soul chooseth strangling and death rather than life," 
Job iii. and vii. 15. and there have been several in- 
stances of those who, having not the fear of God be- 
fore their eyes, with hasty violence and murderous 
hands have put an end to their own lives, through their 
wild and sinful impatience of constant pain. 

But these trials are for ever finished when this life 
expires : Then all our pains are ended for ever if we 


are found among the children of God. There is not, 
nor can be any temptation in heaven, to fretfuhiess 
or disquietude of mind: All the peevish passions are 
dropped into the grave, together with the body of 
flesh; and those evil humours which were the sources 
of smart and anguish here on earth have no place in 
the new-raised body ; Those irregular juices of animal 
nature which tormented the nerves, aad excited pain 
in the flesh, and which at the same time pravoked 
choier and irritated the spirit, are never found in the 
heavenly mansions. There is nothing but peace and ' 
pleasure, joy and love, goodness and benevolence, 
ease and satisfaction diffused through all the regions 
on high : There are no inward springs of uneasiness 
to ruffle the mind, none of those fretful ferments 
which were wont to kindle in the mortal body, and 
explode themselves, with fire and thunder upon every 
supposed (offence, or even sometimes without provo- 
cation. O happy state and blessed mansions of the 
saints, when this body of sin shall be destroyed, and 
all the restless atoms that disquieted the flesh and pro- 
voked the spirit to impatience, shall be buried in the 
dust of death, and never, never rise again ! 

6. ' Pain carries a temptation with it, sometimes 
to repine and murmur at the providence of God.' 
Not fellow-creatures alone, but even our sovereign 
Creator comes within the reach of the peevish hu- 
mours, which are alarmed and roused by sharp or 
continual pain. Jonah the prophet, when he felt the 
sultry heat of the sun smite fiercely upon him, and 
the gourd which gave him a friendly shadow wa^ 


withered away, he told God himself in a passion, 
that ** he did well to be angry, even unto death," 
Jonah iv. 9. And even the man of Uz, the pattern 
of patience, was sometimes transported with the 
smart and maladies that were upon him, so that he 
complained against God as well as complained to 
him, and used some very unbecoming expressions 
towards his Maker. When we are under the smart- 
ing rebukes of Providence, we are ready to compare 
ourselves with others who are in peace, and then the 
envious and the murmuring humour breaks out into 
rebellious language, " Why am I thus afflicted more 
than .others? Why hast thou set me as a mark for 
thine arrows ? Why dost thou not let loose thy hand 
and cut me off from the earth?" 

But in heaven there is a glorious reverse of all such 
unhappy scenes : There is no pain nor any tempta- 
tion to murmur at the dealings of the Almighty: 
There is nothing that can incline us to think hardly of 
God : The days of chastisement are for ever ended, 
and painful discipline shall be used no more. We 
shall live for ever in the embraces of the love of God, 
and he shall be the object of our everlasting praise. 
Perfect felicity without the interruption of one un* 
easy thought, for ever forbids the inhabitants of that 
world to repine at their situation under the eternal 
smiles of that blessed Being that made them. 

7. To add no more, ^ pain and anguish of the flesh 
have sometimes prevailed so far as to distract the 
miud as well as destroy the body.' It has overpow- 
ered all the reasoning faculties of man, it has destroy^ 


ed natural life, and brought it down to the grave : 
The senses have been confounded, and the under- 
standing overwhelmed with severe and racking pain, 
especially where there hath been an impatient temper 
to contest with them. Extreme smart of the flesh 
distresses feeble nature, and turns the whole frame 
of it upside down in wild confusion : It has actually- 
worn out this animal frame, and stopped all the 
springs of vital motion. The gout and the stone 
have brought death upon the patient in this manner; 
and a dreadful manner of dying it is, to have breath, 
and life and nature quite oppressed and destroyed 
with intense and painful sensations. 

But when we survey the mansions of the heavenly 
world, we shall find none of these evils there: No 
danger of any such events as these ; for there is no 
pain, no sorrow, no crying, no death nor destruction 
there. The mind shall be for ever clear and serene 
in the ease and happiness of the separate state : And 
when the body shall be raised again, that glorified 
body, as was intimated a little before, shall have none 
of the seeds of distemper in it, no ferments that can 
rack the nerves, or create anguish; no fever, or gout, 
or stone, was ever known in that country, no head- 
ach or heart-ach have ascended thither. 

That body also shall be capable of no outward 
wounds nor bruises, for it is raised only for happiness, 
and leaves all the causes of pain behind it. It is a 
body made for immortality and pleasure; there the 
sickly Christian is delivered from all the maladies of 
the fiesh, and the twinges of acute pain which made 

X 2 


him groan here on earth night and day. There the 
martyrs of the religion of Jesus, and all the holy con- 
fessors are free from their cruel tormentors, those 
surly executioners of heathen fury, or anti-christian 
wrath : They are for ever released from racks, and 
wheels, and fires, and every engine of torture and 
smart. Immortal ease and unfading health and cheer- 
fulness run through their eternal state, and all the 
powers of the man are composed for the most regular 
exercises of devotion and divine joy, ^ 

Thus I have endeavoured briefly to set the differ- 
ent states of heaven and earth before you under this 
distinguishing character, that * all the tempting, the 
distressing and mischievous attendants and conse- 
quences of pain' to which we are exposed in our mor- 
tal life, are for ever banished from the heavenlv 



The * second general enquiry' ivas this, * What 
just and convincing arguments or proofs can be given, 
that there arc no pains or uneasy sensations to be 
felt by the saints in a future state, nor to be feared 
after this life?' 

My answers to this question shall be very few; 
because I- think the thing must be sufficiently evident 
to those who believe tlie New Testament, and have 
liberty to read it. 

First argument. ' God has assured us so in his 
word, tiiat there is no pain for holy souls to endure 


in the world to come : ' My text may be esteemed a. 
sufficient proof of it ; for whatsoever particular event 
or period of the church on earth this prophecy may 
refer to, yet the description is borrowed from the 
blessedness of heaven ; and if there shall be any such 
state on earth, much more will it be so in the hea- 
venly world, whereas that period on earth is but a 
shadow and emblem. We are expressly told. Rev. 
xiv. 8. in order to encourage the persecuted saints 
and martyrs, " Blessed are the dead who die in the 
Lord from henceforth, for they rest from their labours, 
(or pains) and their works follow them;" i. e. in a 
way of gracious recompence. 

It is granted indeed by the Papists themselves, that 
in heaven there is no pain ; yet they suppose there 
are many and grievous pains for the soul to undergo 
in a place called purgatory, after the death of the 
body, before it arrives at heaven. 

But give me leave to ask, does not St. Paul' ex- 
press himself with confidence concerning himself and 
his fellow Christians — ''that they shall be present 
with the Lord when they are absent from the body,'^ 
2 Cor. v. 8. Surely the state wherein Christ our 
Lord dwells aft^r all his suiFerings and agonies, is a 
.state of everlasting ease without suffering; and shall 
not his followers dwell with him? Do we not read 
in the parable of our Saviour, Luke xvi. 22. that 
Lazarus was no sooner dead, but " his soul was car» 
ried by angels into the bosom of Abraham,'' or para- 
dise ? Every holy soul wherein the work of grace is 
begun, and sin hath receiv-^^ '\-^ mortal wound. \t 


perfectly sanctified when it is released from this body ; 
and it puts off the body of sin and the body of flesh 
together, for *' nothing that defileth must enter into" 
paradise or the heavenly state. 

The word of God has appointed but two states, 
viz. heaven and hell^ for the reception of all mankind 
"when they depart from this world: And how vain a 
thing must it be for men to invent a third state ^ and 
make a purgatory of it ? This is a building erected 
by the church of Rome between heaven and hell, and 
prepared by their wild imagination for souls of imper- 
fect virtue, to be tormented there with pains equal to 
those of hell, but of shorter duration. This state of 
fiery purgation, and extreme anguish, is devised by 
that mother of lies, partly under a pretence of com- 
pleting the penances and satisfactions for the sins of 
men committed in this life, and partly also to purify 
and refine their souls from all the remaining dregs of 
sin, and to fill yp their virtues to perfection, that they 
may be fit for the immediate presence of God. But 
does not the Scripture sufficiently inform us, that 
the atonement or satisfaction of Christ for sin is full 
and complete in itself, and needs none of our additions 
in this world or another ? Does not the Apostle John 
tell us, 1st epist. chap. i. ver. 7. *' The blood of Je* 
sus Christ cleanseth us from all sin ?" Nor shall the 
saints after this life sin any more, to require any new 
atonement; nor do they carry the seeds of sin to hea- 
ven with them, but drop them together with the flesh, 
and all the sources of pain together: Now since nei- 
ther Christ nor his apostles give us any intimation of 


such a place as purgatory for the refinement or puri- 
fication of souls after this Ufe, we have no ground to 
hearken to such a fable. 

The second argument is this : * God has not pro- 
vidcd any medium to convey pain to holy souls after 
they have dropped this body of flesh.' They are par- 
doned, they are sanctified, they are accepted of God 
for ever; and since they are in no danger of sinning 
afresh by the influences of corrupt flesh and blood, 
therefore they are in no fear of suffering any thing 
thereby. And if, as some divines have supposed, 
there should be any pure aethercal bodies or vehicles 
provided for holy separate spirits, when departed 
from this grosser tabernacle of flesh and blood, yet 
it cannot be supposed that the God of all grace would 
mix up any seeds of pain with that ethereal matter, 
which is to be the occasional habitation of sanctified 
spirits in that state, nor that he would make any 
avenues or doors of entrance for pain into these re- 
fined vehicles, when the state of their sinning and 
their trial is for ever finished. 

Nor will the body at the final resurrection of the 
saints be made for a medium of any painful sen- 
sations. All the pains of nature are €nded, when 
the first union between flesh and spirit is dissolved. 
When this body lies down to sleep in the dust, it 
shall never awake again with any of the principles of 
sin or pain in it : Though " it be sown in weakness, 
it is raised in power ; though it be sown in dishon- 
our, it is raised in glory ;" and we shall be made like 


the Son of God without sorrow and without sin for 

3d. Argument. * There are no moral causes or 
reasons why there should be any thing of pain pro- 
vided for the heavenly state.' And if there he np 
moral reasons for it, surely God will not provide 
pains for his creatures without reason ! But this 
thought leads me to the next general head of my dis- 


The third general enquiry which I proposed to 
make was this, * What may be the chief moral rea- 
sons, motives, or designs of the blessed God in send- 
ing pain on his creatures here below ; and at the same 
time I shall shew that these designs and purposes of 
God are finished, and they have no place in heaven.*. 

1st. Then, ' pain is sometimes sent into our na- 
tures to awaken slothful and drowsy Christians out 
of their spiritual slumbers, or to rouse stupid sin- 
ners from a state of spiritual death.' Intense and 
sharp pain of the flesh has oftentimes been the ap- 
pointed and effectual means of providence to attain 
these desirable ends. 

Pain is like a rod in the hand of God, wherewith he 
smites sinners that are dead in their trespasses, and 
his Spirit joins with it to awaken them into spiritual 
life. This rod is sometimes so smarting and severe, 
that it will make a senseless and ungodly wretch look 
upwards to the hand that smites it, and take noticte 


of the rebuke of heaven, though all the thundering 
and lightnuig of the word, and all the terrors of heli 
denounced there, could not awaken him. 

Acute pain is also a common instrument in our 
heavei\Jy Father's hand, to recover backsliding saints 
from their secure and drowsy frames of spirit. David 
often found it so, and speaks it plainly in the 38th 
and 39th Psalms ; and in Psalm cxix. G7. he con- 
fesses, *' before I was afflicted I went astray ;" but 
when he had felt the scourge, he learnt to obey> and 
to * keep the word of his God.' 

But there is * no need of this discipline in heaven : ' 
No need of this smarting scourge to-make dead sin- 
ners feel their Maker's hand, in order to rouse them 
into life, for there are no such inhabitants in that 
world : Nor is there any need of such divine and pater- 
nal discipline of God in those holy mansions, where 
^ there is no drowsy Christian to be awakened, no 
wandering spirit that wants to be reduced to duty : 
And where the designs of such smarting strokes have 
no place, pain itself must be for ever banished; for 
^ God does not willingly afflict, nor take delight in 
grieving the children of men,' without substantial 
reasons for it. 

2. Another use of bodily pain and anguish in thl^i 
world is, ' to punish men for their faults and follies, 
to make them know what an evil and bitter thing it 
is to sin against God, and thereby to guard th.em 
against new temptations,' Jer. ii. 19. ** Thy own 
wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding 
shiill reprove thee;" .:. e, by means of the smarting 


•chastisements they bring upon men. When God 
makes the sinner taste of the fruit of his own ways, he 
makes others also observe how hateful a thing every 
sin is in the sight of God, which he thinks fit so ter- 
ribly to punish. 

This is one general reason why special diseases, 
maladies, and plagues are spread over a whole nation, 
viz. to punish the sins of the inhabitants, when they 
have provoked God by pubUc and spreading iniqui- 
ties. War and famine with all their terrible train 
of anguish and agony, and the dying pains which 
they diffuse over a kingdom, are rods of punish- 
ment in the hand of God, die Governor of the 
world, to declare from heaven and earth his indigna- 
tion against an ungodly and an unrighteous age. 

This indeed is one design of the pains and tor- 
ments of hell, where God inflicts pain without inter- 
mission; And this is sometimes the purpose of God 
in his painful providences here on earth : Shall I rise 
yet higher and say, that this was one great design in 
the eye of God, ''when it pleased the Father to bruise" 
his best beloved Son, and put him under the impres- 
sions of extreme pain, viz. to discover to the world 
the abominable evil that was in sin ? while Jesus 
stood in the stead of sinners, then " his soul was ex- 
ceeding sorrowful even to death, and he sweat drops 
of blood" under the pressure of his agonies, to let 
the world see what the sin of man had deserved: 
And sometimes God smites his own children in this 
world with smarting strokes of correction, when they 
have indulged any iniquity, to shew the world that 


God hates sin in his own people wheresoever he finds 
it, and to bring his children back again to the paths 
o[ righteousness. 

But * in the heavenly state, there are no faults to 
punish, no folHes to chastise.' Jesus, our Surety in 
the days of his flesh, has suffered those sorrows which 
made atonement for sin, and that anguish of his holy 
soul, and the blood of his cross, have satisfied the de- 
mands of God ; so that with honour he can pardon 
ten thousand penitent criminals, antl provide an in- 
heritance of ease and blessedness for them for ever* 
When once we are dismissed from this body, the spi- 
rit is thoroughly sanctified, and there is no fire of 
purgatory needful to burn out the remains of sin : 
Those foolish invented flames are but false fire, kin- 
dled by the priests of Rome to fright the souls of the 
dying, and to squeeze money out of them to purchase 
•so many vain and idle masses to relieve the souls of 
the dead. Upon our actual release from this flesh 
and blood, neither the guilt nor the power of sin shall 
attend the saints in their flight to heaven : All the 
spirits that arrive there arc made perfect in holiness 
without new scourges, and commence a state of feli- 
city that shall never be interrupted. 

3. God has appointed pain in this world, ' to exer- 
cise and try the virtues and the graces of his people.' 
As gold is thrown into the fire to prove and try how 
pure it is from any coarse alloy, so the children of 
God are sometimes left for a season in the furnace of 
sufferings, partly to refine them from their dross, and 

y 2 


Partly to discover their purity and their substantial 
weight and worth. 

Sometimes * God lays smarting pain with his own 
hand' on the flesh of his people, on purpose to try 
their graces : When we endure the pain without mur- 
muring at Providence, then it is we come off con-- 
querors. Christian submission and silence under 
the hand of God, is one way to victory. " I was 
dumb,'' says David, ** and opened not my mouth, be- 
cause thou didst it," Psal. xxxix. Our love to God, 
our resignation to his wili, our holy fortitude and our 
patience find a proper trial in such smarting seasons. 
Perhaps when some severe pain first seizes and sur- 
prises us, we find ourselves * like a wild bull in a 
net,' and all the powers of nature are thrown into 
tumult and disquietude, so that we have no posses- 
sion of our own spirits ; but when the hand of God 
has continued us awhile under this divin-e discipline,. 
we learn to bow down to his sovereignty, we lie at 
his footstool calm and composed : He brings our 
haughty and reluctant spirits down to his foot, and 
makes us lie humble in the dust, and we wait with 
patience the hour of his release. Rom. v. 3, 4. * Tri- 
bulation worketh patience, and patience' under tribu- 
lation ' gives us experience' of the dealings of God 
with his people, and makes our way to a confirmed 
hope in his love. The evidence of our various graces 
grows brighter and stronger under a smarting rod, 
till we are settled in a joyful confidence, and th^ soul 
rests in God himself. 


Sometimes he has * permitted evil angels to put 
the flesh to pain,' for the trial of his children ; so 
" Job was smitten with sore boils from head to foot'' 
by the malice of Satan, at the permission of God ; 
but *' he knows the way that I take," says this holy 
man, ** and when he has tried me I shall come forth 
as gold ; for my foot hath held his steps" through all 
these trials, *' neither have I gone back from the com- 
mandments of his lips," Job. xxii. 10, 12. 

At other times * he suffers wicked men to spend 
their own malice, and to inflict dreadful pains on his 
own children :' Look back to the years of ancient per- 
secution in the land of Israel, under Jewish or heathen 
tyrants ; review the annals of Great Britain ; look 
over the seas into popish kingdoms; take a view of 
the cursed courts of inquisition in Spain, Portugal, 
and Italy ; behold the weapons, the scourges, the 
racks, the machines of torture and engines of cruelty, 
devised by the barbarous and inhuman wit of men, 
to constrain the saints to renounce their faith, and 
dishonour their Saviour, See the slow fires where 
the martyrs have been roasted to death with linger- 
ing torment : These are seasons of terrible trial in- 
deed, whereby the malice of Satan and Antichrist 
would force the servants of God, and the followers of 
the Lamb, into sinful compliances with their idolatry, 
or a desertion of their post of duty : But the spirit 
of God has supported his children to bear a glorious 
testimony to pure and undefiled religion; and they 
have seemed to mock the rage of their tormentors, 
to defy all the stings of pain, and triumphed over 


their vain attempts, to compel them to sin against 
their God. 

One would sometimes be ready to wonder, that a 
God of infinite mercy and compassion should suffer 
his own dear children to be tried in so terrible a man- 
ner as this ; but unsearchable wisdom is with him, 
and he does not give an account to men of all the 
reasons and the rules of his conduct. This has been 
his method of providence with his saints at especial 
seasons, under the Jewish and the Christian dispen^ 
sations, and perhaps under all the dispensations 
of God to men, from the days of Cain and Abel 
to the present hour. Our blessed Lord has given 
us many warnings of it in his word by his own 
mouth, and by all his three Apostles, Paul, Peter and 
John : '* They that will live godly in Christ Jesus 
shall suffer persecution : Think it not strange there- 
fore concerning the fiery trial ; The devil, by his 
wicked agents, shall cast some of you into prison, 
that ye may be tried ; and ye shall have tribulation 
ten days, but fear none of the things which thou 
shalt suffer : Be thou faithful unto death, and I will 
give thee a crown of life." 

But blessed be God that this world is the only 
stage of such trials. As soon as the state of proba- 
tion is finished, the state of recompence begins. 
Such hard and painful exercises to try the virtues of 
the saints, have no place in that world, which was 
not made for a stage of trial and conflict, but a palace 
of glorious reward. ' Heaven is a place where crowns 
and prizes are distributed' to all those blessed ones 
^ who have endured temptation,' and who have been 


found faithful to the death. These sharp and dread- 
ful combats with pain, have no place among con- 
querors, who have finished their warfare, and have 
begun their triumph. 

4. * Pain is sent us by the hand of Providence to 
teach us many a lesson J)oth of truth and duty, which 
perhaps we should never have learnt so well without 
it.' This sharp sensation awakens our best powers 
to attend to those truths and duties which we took 
less notice of before : In the time of perfect ease we 
are ready to let them lie neglected or forgotten, till 
God our great Master takes his rod in hand for our 


And this leads me to the * fourth general head' of 
my discourse, and that is to ' enquire what are those 
spiritual lessons which may be learnt on earth from 
the pains we have suifered, or may suffer in the flesh.' 
I shall divide them into two sorts, viz. * Lessons of 
instruction' in useful truth, and * lessons of duty,' or 
practical Christianity ; and there are many of each 
kind with which the disciples of ' Christ in this world' 
may be better acquainted, by the actual sensations of 
pain, than any other way : ' In this world' I say, and 
* in this only;' for in hea'Den most of these * lessons 
of doctrine and practice' are utterly needless to be 
taught, either because they have been so perfectly 
well known to all its inhabitants before, and their pre- 
sent situalion makes it impossible to forget them ; or 


they shall be let into the fuller knowledge of them 
in heaven in a far superior way of instruction, and 
without any such uneasy discipline. And this I shall 
evidently make appear, when I have first enumerated 
all these * general lessons' both * of truth and duty,' 
and shewn how wisely the great God has appointed 
them to be taught here on earth, under the scourge 
and the wholsome discipline of pain in the flesh. 

I. * The lessons of instruction here on earth, or 
the useful truths,' are such as these : 

1. Pain teadies us feelingly, * what feeble creatures 
we are, and how entirely dependent on God our Ma- 
ker for every hour and moment of ease.' We are 
naturally wild and waoton creatures, and especially 
in the season of youth, our gayer powers are gadding 
abroad at the call of temptation; but when God sends 
his arrows into our flesh, he arrests us on a sudden, 
teaches us that we are but men, poor feeble dying 
creatures, soon crushed, and sinking under his hand. 
We are ready to exult in the vigour of youth, when 
animal nature, in its prime of strength and glory, 
raises our pride, and supports us in a sort of self- 
sufficiency ; we are so vain and foolish, as to imagine 
nothing can hurt us : But when the pain of a little 
nerve seizes us, and we feel the acute twinges of it, 
we are made to confess that * our flesh is not iron, 
nor our bones brass;' that we are by no means the 
lords of ourselves, or sovereigns over our own nature : 
We cannot remove the least degree of pain, till the 
Lord who sent it takes off his hand, arnd commands 


the smart to cease. If the torture fix itself but in a 
finger or a toe, or in the little nerve of a tooth, what 
intense agonies may it create in us, and that beyond 
all tlie relief of medicines, till the moment wherein 
God shall give us ease. This lesson of the frailty of 
human nature must be some time written upon our 
hearts in deep and smarting characters, by intense 
pain, before we have learnt it well; and this gives 
us, for some time to come, a happy guard against 
our pride and vanity. Psal. xxxix. 10. When David 
felt the stroke of the hand of God upon him, which 
corrected him with sharp rebukes for his iniquity, 
he makes an humble address to God, and acknow- 
ledges that his " beauty, and all the boasted excellen- 
cies of flesh and blood, consume away like a moth ; 
surely every man is vanity V' Psal. xxxix. 10, 11. 

2. The next useful truth in which pain instructs 
us, is * the great evil that is contained in the nature 
of sin, because it is the occasion of such intense palii 
and misery to human nature' I grant, I have hint- 
ed this before, but I would have it more powerfully 
impressed upon our spirits, and therefore I introduce 
it here again in this part of my discourse as a spiritual 
lesson, which we learn under the discipline of our 
heavenly Father. 

It is true indeed that innocent nature v/as made 
capable of pain in the first Adam, and the innocent 
nature of the man Jesus Christ suffered acute pain, 
when he came in the likeness of sinful flesh: But if 
Adam had continued in his state of innocenoe, it is 
a great question with me, whether he or his children 


would have actually tasted or felt what acute pain is; 
I mean such pain as we now suffer, such as makes 
us so far unh-appy, and such as we cannot immedi- 
ately relieve. 

It may be granted, that natural hunger, and thirst, 
and weariness after labour, would have carried in 
them some degrees of pain or uneasiness, even in the 
state of innocence ; but these are necessary to awak- 
en nature to seek food and rest, and to put the man 
in mind to supply his natural wants ; and man might 
have immediately relieved them himself, for the sup- 
plies of ease were at hand; and these sort of unea« 
sinesses were abundantly compensated by the plea- 
sure of rest and food, and perhaps they were in some 
measure necessary to make food and rest pleasant. 

But surely if sin had never been known in our 
world, all the pain that arises from inward diseases 
of nature, or from outward violence, had been a 
stranger to the human race, an unknown evil among 
the sons of men, as it is among the holy angels, the 
sons of God. There had been no distempers or acute 
pains to meet young babes at their entrance into this 
world ; no maladies to attend the sons and daughters 
of Adam through the journey of life ; and they should 
have been translated to some higher and happier re- 
gion, without death, and without pain. 

It was the eating of the tree of knowledge of good 
and evil, that acquainted Adam and his offspring 
with the evil of pain. Or if pain could have attack- 
ed innocence in any form or degree, rt would have 
been but in a way of trial, to exercise and illustrate 


his virtues ; and if he had endured the test, and con- 
tinued innocent, I am satisfied he should never have 
felt any pain which was not overbalanced with supc« 
rior pleasure, or abundantly recompensed by succeed- 
ing rewards and satisfactions. 

Some persons indeed, have supposed it within the 
reach of the sovereignty of God to afflict and tor- 
ment a sinless creature : Yet I think it is hardly con- 
sistent with his goodness, or his equity, to constrain 
an innocent being, which has no sin, to suffer pain 
without his own consent, and without giving that crea- 
ture equal or superior pleasure as a recompence. 
Both those were the case in the sufferings of our 
blessed Lord in his human nature, who was perfectly 
innocent : It was with his own consent that he gave 
himself up to be a sacrifice, when " it pleased the Fa- 
ther to bruise him and put him to grief:" And God 
rewarded him with transcendent honours and joys 
after his passion, he exalted him to his own right 
hand and his thi-one, and gave him authority over all 

In general therefore we have sufficient reason to 
say, that as sin brought in death into human nature, 
so it was sin that brought in pain also; and vvhere« 
soever there is any pain suffered among the sons and 
daughters of men, I am sure we may venture to as- 
sert boldly, that the sufferer may learn the evil of sin. 
Even the Son of God himself, when he suffered pain 
in his body, as well as anguish in his spirit, has 
told us by his Apostles, thatour sins were the causes 
of it ; ' he bore our sins on his own body on the tree^ 

z 2 


and for our iniquities he was bruised,' so says Isaiah 
the prophet, ancl so speaks Peter the Apostle. 

And sometimes the Providence of God is pleased 
to point out to us the particular sin we are guilty of 
by the special punishment which he inflicts. In Psal. 
cvii. 17, 18- *' Fools are said to be afflicted," i. e. with 
pain and sickness, ^* because of their transgressions" 
of riot and intemperance; " their soul abhors all 
manner Qf meat, and they draw near to the gates of 
death." Sickness and pain over-balance all the plea- 
sures of luxury in meats and drinks, and make the 
epicure pay dear for the elegance of his palate, and 
the sweet relish of his morsels or his cups. The 
drunkard in his debauches, is preparing some smart- 
ing pain for his own punishment. And let us all be 
so wise as to learn this lesson by the pains we feel, 
that sin which introduced them into the world is an 
abominable thing in the sight of God, because it pro- 
vokes him to use such smarting strokes of discipline 
in order to recover us from our folly, and to reduce 
us back again to the paths of righteousness. 

O blessed smart! O happy pain, that helps to sof^ 
ten the heart of a sinner, and melts it to receive divine 
instruction, which before was hard as iron, and at- 
tended to no divine counsel! we are ready to vyan- 
der from God, and forget him amongst the months 
and the years of ease and pleasure ; but when the 
soul is melted in this furnace of painful sufferings, 
it more easily receives some divine stamp, some last- 
ing impression of truth, which the words of the 
preacher and the book of God had before inculcated 


without success, and repeated almost in vain. Happy 
is the soul that learns this lesson thoroughly, and 
gains a more lasting acquaintance with the evil of 
sin, and abhorrence of it, under the smarting stroke 
of the hand of God. ** Blessed is the man whom 
thou Gorrectest, O Lord, and teachest him the truths 
that are written in thy law," Psal. xciv. 12. 

3. Pain in the flesh teaches us also *how dread- 
fully the great God can punish sin and sinners when 
he pleases, in this world or in the other.* It is writ* 
ten in the song of Moses, the man of God, Psal. xc. 
11. ** According to thy fear, so is thy wrath," i. e. 
the displeasure and anger of the blessed God is as 
terrible as we can fear it to be ; and he can inflict on 
us such intense pahis and agonies, whose distressing 
smart we may learn by feeling a little of them» Un- 
known multiplications of racking pain, lengthened 
out beyond years and ages, is part of the de- 
scription of hellish torments, and the other part 
lies in the bitter twinges of conscience and keen 
remorse of soul for our past iniquities, but without 
all hope. Behold a man under a sharp fit of the gout 
Or stone, which wrings the groans from his heart, 
and tears from his eye- lids ; this is the hand of God 
in the present world, where there are many mixtures 
of divine goodness ; but if ever we should be so wil- 
fully unhappy as to be plunged into those regions 
where the almighty vengeance of God reigns, without 
one beam of divine light or love, this must be dread- 
ful indeed. '* It is a fearful thing to full into the 
hands of the living God," Heb. x, 31. to be banish- 


ed far ofFfrom all that is holy and happy, and to be 
confined to that dark dungeon, that place of torture, 
'* where the gnawing worm of conscience never dies," 
and '' where the fire of dimne anger is never quench- 

We who are made up of flesh and blood, which is 
interwoven with many nerves and muscles, and mem- 
branes, may learn a little of the terrors of the Lord, 
if we reflect that every nerve, muscle, and membrane 
pf the body is capable of giving us most sharp and 
painful sensations. We may be wounded in every 
sensible part of nature; smart and anguish may 
enter in at every pore, and make almost every atom 
of our constitution an instrument of our anguish. 
*^ Fearfully and wonderfully are we formed" indeed, 
capable of pain all over us ; and if a God shall see 
fit to punish sin to its full desert, and penetrate every 
atom of our nature with pain, what surprising and 
intolerable misery must that be ? And if God should 
Taise the wicked out of their graves to dwell in such 
sort of bodies again, on purpose to shew his just 
anger against sin in their punishment, how dreadful, 
beyond expression, must their anguish be through 
the long ages of eternity ? God can form even such 
bodies for immortality, and can sustain them to en- 
dure everlasting agonies. 

Let us think again, that when the hand of our Cre- 
ator sends pain into our flesh, we cannot avoid it, we 
cannot fly from it, we carry it with us wheresoever 
%ve go: His arrows stick fast in us, and we cannot 
shakg them off; oftentimes it appears that we can 


find no relief from creatures : And if by the destruc- 
tion of ourselves, i. e. of these bodies, we plunge 
ourselves into the world of spirits at once, we shall 
find the same God of holiness and vengeance there, 
who can pierce our souls with unknown sorrows^ 
equal, if not superior, to all that we felt in the flesh. 
**If I make my bed in the grave, Lord, thou art there,'* 
thy hand of justice and punishment would find me 

What a formidable thing it is to such creatures as 
we are, to have God, our Maker, for our enemy > 
That God who has all the tribes of pain and disease, 
and the innumerable host of maladies at his command? 
He fills the air in which we breathe with fevers and 
pestilences as often as he wills : The gout and the 
stone arrest and seize us by his order, and stretch 
us upon a bed of pain: Rheumatisms and cholicks 
come and go wheresoever he sends them, and exe- 
cute his anger against criminals. He keeps in his 
hand all the various springs of pain, and every invi- 
sible rack that can torment the head or members, the 
bowels or the joints of man: He sets them at their 
dreadful work when and where he pleases. Let the 
sinner tremble at the name of his power and terror, 
who can fill both flesh and spirit with thrilling ago- 
nies ; and yet he never punishes beyond what our 
iniquities deserve. How necessary is it for such 
sinful and guilty beings as we are, whose natures are 
capable of such constant and acute sensations of pain, 
to have the God of nature our friend and our recon- 
ciled God ^ 


4. When wc feel the acute pains of nature, we 
* may learn something of the exceeding greatness of 
the love of Christ, even the Son of God,' that glo- 
tious Spirit, who took upon him fiesh and blood for 
our sakes, that he might be capable of pain and death, 
though he had never sinned. He endured intense 
anguish, to make atonement for our crimes. '' Be- 
cause the children'* whom he came to save from 
misery "were partakers of fiesh and blood, he also 
himself took part of the same," thathe might suffer 
in the flesh, and by his sufferings put away our sins. 

Happy was he in his Father's bosom, and the de- 
l^ht of his soul through many long ages before his 
incarnation: But he condescended to be born "in 
the likeness of sinful flesh," that he might feel such 
smart and sorrows as our sins had exposed us to. 
His innocent and holy soul was uncapable of such 
sort of sufferings till he put on this clothing of hu- 
man nature, and became a Surety for sinful perish- 
ing creatures. 

Let us survey his sufferings a little. He was born 
to sorrow, and trained up through the common un- 
easy circumstances of the infant and childish state, 
till he grew up to man : What pains did attend him 
in hunger and thirst, and weariness, while he travel- 
led on foot from city to city, through wilds and de- 
serts, where there was no food nor rest? The Son 
of man sometimes wanted the common bread of na- 
ture, nor had he where to lay his head. What un- 
easy sensations was he exposed to, when he was buf- 
feted, when he was smitten on tjie cheek, v^'hen his 


tender flesh was scourged with whips, and his tem- 
ples were crowned with thorns, when his hands and 
his feet were barbarously torn with rude nails, and 
fastened to the cross, where the whole weight of his 
body hung on those wounds ? And what man or 
angel can tell the inward anguish, when **his soul 
was exceeding sorrowful unto death," and the 
conflicts and agonies of his spirit forced out the 
drops of bloody sweat through every pore. It was 
by the extreme torture of his nature that he was sup- 
posed to expire on the cross ; these were the pangs of 
his atonement and agonies that expiated the sins of 

O ble#sed Jesus ! What manner of sufFeriags were 
these ? And what manner of love was it that willingly 
gave up thy sacred nature to sustain them? And 
what was the design of diem, but to deliver us from 
the wrath of God in hell, to save our flesh and spirit 
from eternal anguish and distress there ? Why was 
he ** made such a curse for us," but *' that lite might 
redeem us from the curse of the lav/," and the just 
punishment of our own iniquities. 

Let us carry our thoughts of his love, and our be^ 
nefit by it, yet one step further : Was it not by these 
sorrows, and this painful passion, that he provided 
for us this very heaven of happiness, where we shall 
be for ever freed from all pain ? Were they not all 
endured by him to procure a paradise of pleasure, a 
mansion of everlasting peace and joy for guilty crea- 
tures, who had merited everlasting pain ? Was it not 
by these his agonies in the mortal bor'y. which he 


assumed, that he purchased for each of us a glorified 
body, strong and immortal as his own when he rose 
from the dead, a body which has no seeds of disease 
or pain in it, no springs of mortality or death ? May 
glor}^ honour and praise, with supreme pleasure, 
ever attend the sacred person of our Redeemer, whose 
sorrows and anguish of flesh and spirit were equal to 
our misery, and to his own compassion. 

5. Another lesson, which we are taught by the 
long and tiresome pains of nature, * is the value and 
worth of the word of God, and the sweetness of a 
promise, which can give the kindest relief to a pain- 
ful hour, and sooth the anguish of nature.' They 
teach us the excellency of the covenant of grace, 
which has sometimes strengthened the feeblest pieces 
of human nature to bear intense sufferings in the 
body, and which sanctifies them all to our advantage. 
Painful and tiresome maladies teach us to improve 
the promises to valuable purposes, and^the promises 
take away half the smart of our pains by the sensa- 
tions of divine love let into the soul. 

We read of philosophers and heroes in some an- 
cient histories, who could endure pain by dint of rea- 
soning, by a pride of their science, by an obstinacy 
of heart, or by natural courage ; but a Christian takes 
the word of a promise, and lies down upon it in the 
midst of intense pains of nature ; and the pleasure of 
devotion supplies him with such ease, that all the 
reasonings of philosophy, all the courage of nature, 
all the anodynes of medicine, and soothing plaistcrs 


have at'.rmptecl without success. When a child of 
God can r^ad his Father's love in a promise, and by 
searching into the qualifications of his own soul, can 
lay faster hold of it by a living faith, the rage of his 
pain is much allayed, and made half easy. A pro- 
mise is a sweet couch to rest a languishing body in 
the midst of pains, and a soft repose for the head or 

The Stoicks pretended to give ease to pain, by 
persuading themselves * there was no evil in it;' as 
though the mere misnaming of things would destroy 
their nature : But the Christian, by a sweet sub- 
mission to the evil which his heavenly Father inflicts 
upon his flesh, reposes himself at the foot of God on 
the covenant of grace, and bears the wounds and the 
smart with much more serenity and honour. * It 
is my heavenly Father that scourges me, and I know 
he designs me no hurt, though he fills my flesh widi 
present pain: His own presence, and the sense of his 
love, soften the anguish of all that I feel : He bids 
me not yield to fear, for when I pas^s through the fires 
he 'voill be 'vj'uh me ; and he that loved me, and died 
for me, has suffered greater sorrows and more an- 
guish on my account, than what he calls me to bear 
under the strokes of his wise and holy discipline : He 
lias left his word with me as an universal medicine 
to relieve me under all my anguish, till he shall bring 
me to those mansions on high, were sorrows and 
pains arc found no more."* 

6. Anguish and- pain of nature here on earth teach 
u4 * the -excellency and use of the mercy-seat in hea- 

A 3 


ven, and the admirable privilege of prayer.- Even 
the sons of mere nature are ready to think of God 
at such a season ; and they who never prayed before, 
' pour out a prayer before him when his chastening 
is upon them,' Isai. xxvi. 16. An hour of twing- 
ing and tormenting pain, when creatures and medi- 
cines can give no relief, drives them to the throne 
of God tO' try w hether he will relieve them or not. 
But much more delightful is it for a child of God 
that has been used to address the throne of grace, to 
run thither with pleasure and hope, and to spread 
all his anguish before the face of his heavenly Father. 
The blessed God has built this mercy-seat for his 
people to bring all their sorrows thither, and spread 
them before his eyes in all their smarting circum- 
stances, and he has been often pleased to speak a 
Mord of relief. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, when he dwelt in flesh 
and blood, practised this part of religion with holy 
satisfaction and success. *' Being in an agony he 
prayed more earnestly," and an angel was sent to 
strengthen and comfort him, Luke xxii. 43, 44. 

This was the relief of holy David in ancient times. 
Psalm XXV. 18. *'Look upon my affliction and my 
pain, and pardon all my sins." Psal. cxvi. 3, 4. 
*' The sorrows of death compassed me, and the 
pains of hell, or the grave, took hold of me ; then 
called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I be- 
seech thee, deliver my soul." And when he found 
a gracious answer' to his request, he acknowledges 
the £;Tace.; of God thereiuj and charges his soul to 


dwell near to God; *' return to thy rest, O my soul, 
for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee; I was 
brought low, and he helped me, he delivered my 
soul from death, and mine eyes from tears." 

But we have stronger encouragement than David 
was acquainted with, since it is revealed to us, that 
we **have an high Priest" at this throne ready to be- 
speak all necessary relief for us there, Heb. ii. 18. 
** An high Priest who can be touched with the feel- 
ing of our infirmities,'' who has sustained the same 
sorrows and pains in the flesh, who can pity and re- 
lieve his people under their maladies and acutest an- 
guish, Heb. iv. 15. When we groan and sigh un- 
der f^ontinued pains, they are ready to make nature 
weary and faint : We groan unto the Lord, who 
knows the language of our frailty : Our High Priest 
carries every groan to the m«rcy-seat : His compas- 
sion works towards his brethren, and he will suffer 
them to continue no longer under this discipline than 
is necessary for their own best improvement and 

O how much of this sort of consolation has many 
a Christian learnt and tasted, by a holy intercourse 
with heaven, in such painful seasons ? How much 
has he learnt of the tender mercies of God the Fa- 
ther, and of the pity and sympathy of our great High 
Priest above? Who would be content to live in such 
a painful world as this is, without the pleasure and 
relief of prayer ? Who would live without an inter- 
est at this mercy-seat, and without the supporting 
friendship of this Advocate at the throne ? 


Thus I have run over the chief lessons of instruc- 
tion or doctrine, which may be derived from our 
sensations of pain here in this world : But there i$ 
no need of this sort of discipline in the blessed re- 
gions of heaven to teach the inhabitants such truths. 

They will remember * what feeble helpless crea- 
tures they were' when they dwelt in flesh and blood; 
but they have put off those fleshly garments of mor- 
tality, with all its weaknesses together. The spirits 
of the blessed know nothing of those frailties, nor shall 
the bodies of the saints, new raised from the dust, 
bring back any of their old infirmities with them. 
These blessed creatures know well ' how entirely 
dependent they are for all things upon God' their 
Creacor, without the need of pains and maladies to 
teach them, for they live every moment with God, 
and in a full dependence upon him ; They are sup- 
ported in their life, and all its everlasting blessings, 
by his immediate presence, power and mercy. 

They have no need of pain in those fields or gar- 
dens of pleasure to teach them the evil of sin ; they 
well remember all the sorrows they have passed 
through in their mortal state, while they were tra- 
versing the wilderness of this world, and they know 
that sin was the cause of them all. They see the evil 
of sin in the glass of the divine holiness, and the 
hateful contrariety that is in it to the nature of God 
is discovered in the immediate light of all his per- 
fections, his wisdom, his truth and his goodness. 
They behold the evil of sin in the marks of the suf- 
ferings of their blessed Saviour; he appears in glo- 


ry * as the Lamb that was slain,' and carries some 
memorials of his death about him, to let the saints 
know for ever what he has suffered to make atone- 
ment for their sins. 

Nor have the blessed above any need to learn < how 
dreadfully God can punish sin and sinners,' while 
they behold his indignation going forth in a long and 
endless stream, to make the wicked enemies of God 
in hell for ever justly miserable : And in this sense 
it may be said, that *' the smoke of their torments 
Gome up before God and his holy angels, and his 
saints for ever." 

Nor do these happy beings stand in need of new 
sensations of pain, to teach them * the exceeding 
greatness of the love of Christ,' who exposed him- 
self to intense and smarting anguish, both of fiesli 
and spirit, to procure their salvation : For while they 
dwell amidst the blessedness of that state, which 
the Red^mer purchased with the price of his own 
sufferings, they can never forget his love. 

Nor do they want to learn in heaven the * value 
of the word of God and his promises,' by which they 
were supported under tlieir pains and sorrows in this 
mortal state. Those promises have been fulfilled 
to them partly on earth, and in a. more glorious and 
abundant manner in the heavenly world. They rel- 
ish the sweetness of all those words of mercy, in 
reviewing the means whereby divine grace sustained 
them in their former state of trial, and in thecom-^ 
plete accomplishment of the best of those promises 


in their present situation amidst ten thousand end- 
less blessings. 

And if any of them were too cold and remiss, and 
infrequent in their applications to the mercy- seat by 
prayer, when they were here on earth, and stood in 
need of chastisement to make them pour out their 
prayers to God, yet they can never forget ' the value 
of this privilege,' while they themselves dwell round 
about the throne, and behold all their ancient sin- 
cere addresses to the mercy-seat answered and swal- 
lowed up in the full fruition of their present glories 
and joys. Praise is properly the language of heaven, 
when all their wants are supplied, and their prayers 
on earth are finished ; and whatever further desires 
they may have to present before God, the throne of 
grace is ever at hand, and God himself is ever in the 
midst of them to bestow ever^^ proper blessing in its 
season that belongs to the heavenly world. Not one 
of them can any more stand in need of chastisement 
or painful exercises of the flesh to drive them to the 
throne of God, while they are at home in their Fa- 
ther's house, and for ever near him and his all-suffici- 
ency. It is from thence they are constantly deriving 
immortal supplies of blessedness, as from a spring 
that will never faiL 


I proceed now to consider in the last place, what 
are the * practical lessons which pain may teach us 
while we aue here on earth' in our state of proba- 


tion and discipline, and shall afterward make it evi- 
dent, that there is * np need of pain in heaven for the 
same purposes.' 

1. Thj£ frequent returns of pain may put us in mind 
< to offer to God his due sacrifices of praise for the 
months and years of ease which we have enjoyed;' 
we are too ready to forget the mercy of God herein, 
unless we are awakened by new painful sensations ; 
and when we experience new relief, then our lips are 
opened with thankfulness, and our mouth shews forth 
his praise : Then we cry out with devout language, 
'Blessed be the Lord that has delivered us !' When 
we have been oppressed for some time with extreme 
anguish, then one day, or one hour of ease fills the 
heart and the tongue with thankfulness ; ' blessed be 
the God of nature that has appointed nTcdicines to 
restore our ease, and blessed be that goodness that 
has given success to them !' What a rich mercy is it 
under our acute torments, that there are methods of 
relief and healing found among the powers of nature, 
among the plants and the herbs, and the mineral 
stores which are under ground? Blessed be the Lord, 
who in the course of his providence has given skill 
to physicians to compose and to apply the proper 
means of relief ! Blessed be that hand that has plant- 
ed every herb in the field or the garden, and has made 
the bowels of the earth to teem with medicines for 
the recovery of our health and ease, and blessed be 
his name who has rebuked our maladies, who has 
constrained the smarting diseases to depart by the 
ii:ie of balms and balsams that are hnppily applied? 


Willie we enjoy the benefits of common life, in 
health of body and in easy circumstances, we are too 
often thoughtless of the hand of God, which showers 
down these favours of heaven upon us in a long and 
constant succession ; but when he sees fit to touch 
us with his finger, and awaken some lurking mala- 
dy within us, our ease vanishes, our days are rest- 
less and painful, and tiresome nights of darkn'ess pass 
over us without sleep or repose. Then we repent 
that we have so long forgotten the God of our mer- 
cies ; and we learn to lift up our praises to the Lord, 
that every night of our lives has not been restless, 
that every day and hour has not been a season of 
racking pain. Blessed be the Lord that enables us, 
Vv'ithout anguish or uneasiness, to fulfil the common 
business of the day ; and blessed be his hand that 
draws the peaceful curtains of the night round about 
us 1 And even in the midst of moderate pains, we 
bless his name who gives us refreshing slum.bers; and 
vve grow more careful to employ and improve every 
moment of returning ease, as the m-pst proper way 
of expressing our tlrankfulncss to our Almighty 

Alas, what poor, sorry, sinful creatures are we in' 
the present state, who want to be taught the value of 
our mercies by the removal of them ! The man of a 
robust and vigorous make, and a healthy constitution, 
knows not the true worth of health and ease, nor 
sets a due value upon these blessings of heaven ; but 
we are taught to thank God feelingly, for an easy 
houY afier lung repeated twinges of pain : We ble5*>' 


that goodness which gives us an easy night after a 
day of distressing anguish. Blessed be the God of 
nature and grace, that has not made the gout or the 
stone immortal, nor subjected our sensible powers 
to an everlasting cholick or tooth-ach. 

2. Pain in the flesh more effectually teaches us * to 
sympathise with those who suffer.' We learn a ten- 
derness of soul experimentally by our own sufferings. 
We generally love self so well, that we forget our 
neighbours under special tribulation and distress, 
unless we are made to feel them too. In a particular 
manner, when our nature is pinched and pierced 
through with some smarting malady, we learn to pity 
those who lie groaning under the same disease. A 
kindred of sorrows and sufferings works up our na- 
tures into compassion ; and we find our own hearts 
more sensibly affected with the groans of our friends 
under a sharp fit of the gout or rheumatism, when 
we ourselves have felt the stings of the same dis- 

Oar blessed Saviour himself, though he wanted not 
compassion and love to the children of men, since he 
€ame down from heaven on purpose to die for them,, 
yet he is represented to us as our merciful High 
Priest, who had learnt sympathy and compassion to 
our sorrows in the same way of experience as we 
learn it. He was "encompassed about with infir- 
mities," when he took the sinless frailties of our na- 
ture upon him, that he might learn to pity us upder 
those frailties. ** In that he himself hath suffered 
being tempted, he is able to succour them that arc 

B 3 


tempted : For wc have not an High Priest which 
cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmitiesy 
but was in all points tempted like as we are," though 
he was always " without sin ; and by the things which 
be suffered," he may be said, after the manner of 
men, to learn * sympathy and pity' to miserable 
creatures, as well as obedience to God, who is blessed 
for ever, Heb. ii. 18. and iv. 15. and v. 2, 8. 

3. Since our natures are subject to pain, it should 
teach us ' watclifulness against every sin^ lest we 
double our own distresses by the mixture of guilt 
with them.' How careful should we be to keep 
always a clear conscience, that we may be able at all 
times to look up v/ith pleasure to the hand of God 
who smites us, and be better composed to endure 
the pains which he inflicts upon us for our trial and 
improvement in grace. Innocence and piety, and a 
peaceful conscience, are an admirable defence to sup- 
port the spirit against the overwhelming efforts of 
bodily pain : But when inward reproaches of mind, 
and a racking conscience join with acute pain in the 
flesh, it is double misery, and aggravated wretched- 
ness. The scourges and inward remorse of our own 
hearts, joined to the sorrows of nature, add torment 
to torment. How dreadful is it when we are forced 
to cojifess, * I have procured all this to myself by 
intemperance, by my rashness, by my obstinacy 
against the advice of friends,' and rebellion against 
the commands of God ! 

Probably it was such circumstances as these, that 
gave the soul of David double anguish, /' when his 


bon€s waxed old, through his roaring all the day 
long, when day and night the hand of God was heavy 
upon him, and his moisture was turned into the 
drought of summer;" when he complained unto God, 
'' thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth 
me sore : There is no soundness in my flesh, because 
of thine anger ; nor any rest in my bones, because 
of my sin. Mine iniquities are gone over mine head 
as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for m,e« 
Deep calls unto deep at the ncdse of thy water-spouts, 
all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.'' 
The * deep of anguish' in my flesh calls to the * deep 
of sorrow' in my soul, and makes a tremendous tu- 
mult within me. *' My wounds stink, and are cor- 
rupt, because of my foolishness: I am feeble and 
sore broken ; I have roared by reason of the disqui» 
etneas of my heart;" nor could he find any rest or 
ease till he *' acknowledged his sin unto God, and 
confessed his transgressions," and till he had some 
comfortable hope that *'God had forgiven the iniquity 
of his sin." See this sorrowful scene exemplified in 
a very affecting manner in the 32d and 38th Psalms, 
Happy is the man that walks closely with his God in 
the days of health and ease, that whenever it shall 
please his heavenly Father to try him with smarting 
pain, he may find sweet relief from a peaceful con* 
science, and humble appeals to God concerning his 
own sincerity and watchfulness. 

4. Pain in the flesh may sometimes be sent by the 
hand of God, to teach us * to wean ourselves by de- 
grees from this body, which we love too well ; tliis 


body, which has all the springs of pain in it,' How 
little should we be fond of this flesh and blood 
in the present feeble state, wherein we are continually 
liable to one malady or another ; to the head-ach or 
the heart- ach, to wounds or bruises, and uneasy sen- 
sations of various kinds ? Nor can the soul secure 
itself from them, while it is so closely united to this 
mortal body. And yet we are too fond of our present 
dwelling, though it be but a cottage of clay, feeble 
and ruinous, where the winds and the storms are 
continually ready to break in and distress us. A 
sorry habitation indeed for an immortal spirit, since 
sin has mingled so many diseases in our constitution, 
has made so many avenues for smart and anguish in 
our flesh, and we are capable of admitting pain and 
agonies at every pore^ 

Pain is appointed to be a sort of balance to the 
* tempting pleasures of life,' and to make us feel that 
perfect happiness does not grow among the inhabit- 
ants of flesh and blood. Pain takes away the plea- 
sures of the day and the repose of the night, and 
makes life bitter in all the returning seasons. The 
God of nature and grace is pleased, by sending sick- 
ness and pain, to loosen his own children by degrees 
from their fond attachment to this fleshly tabernacle, 
and to make us willing to depart at his call. 

A long continuance of pain, or the frequent repeat- 
ed twinges of it, will * teach a Christian and incline 
him to meet death with courage, at the appointed hour 
of release.' This will much abate the fierceness of 
the king of terrors, when he appears as a sovereign 


physician to finish every malady of nature. Death is 
sanctified to the holy soul, and by the covenant of 
grace this curse of nature is changed into a blessing. 
The grave is a safe retiring place from all the attacks 
of disease and anguish : And there are some incura- 
bles here on earth, which can find no perfect relief 
but in the grave. Neither maladies, nor tyrants can 
stretch their terrors beyond this life : And if we can 
but look upon death as a conquered enemy, and its 
sting taken away by the death of Christ, we shall 
easily venture into this last combat, and obtain an 
everlasting victory. Blessed be God for the grave as 
a refuge from smarting pains ! Thanks be to God 
through Christ Jesus, who enables us to triumph 
over the last pain of nature, and to say, **0 death 
where is thy strng ? and O grave where is thy vic- 
tory ?" 

In the fifth and last place, by the pains that we suf- 
fer in this body, * we are taught to breathe after the 
blessedness of the heavenly state wherein there shall 
be no pain.' When the soul is dismissed from the 
bonds of fiesK, and presented before God in the world 
of spirits without spot or blemish by Jesus our great 
Forerunner, it is then app,ointed to dwell among the 
*' spirits of the just made perfect," who were all re- 
leased in their several seasons from the body of flesh 
and sin. Maladies and infirmities of every kind are 
buried in the grave, and cease for ever ; and if we sur- 
vey the properties of the new raised body in the great 
resurrection-day, as described 1 Cor. xv. we shall find 
no room for pain there, no avenue or residence for smart 
or anguish. It will not be such a body of flesh and 


blood which can be a source of maladies, or subject to 
outward injuries; but by its own principles of innate 
vigour and immortality, as well as by the power and 
mercy of God, it shall be for ever secured from those 
uneasy sensations which made our flesh on earth 
painful and burdensome, and which tended toward 
dissolution and death. It is such a body as our Lord 
Jesus wore at his ascent to heaven in a bright cloud 
for ever incorruptibfe ; ** for flesh and blood cannot 
inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corrup- 
tion inherit incorruptian. As we have borne the im- 
age of the earthly" Adam in the frailties and suffer* 
ings that belong to it, so shall ** we also bear the 
image of the heavenly," even the **Lord Jesus Christ 
who shall change our vile body, that it my be fashion- 
ed like unto his own glorious body, according to the 
working whereby he is able to subdue all things un- 
to himself," Phil. iii. 21. " We shall hunger no 
more, we shall thirst no more, nor shall the sun 
light on us" with its parching beams, nor shall we 
be annoyed with fire or frost, with heat or cold, in 
those temperate and happy regions. *' The Lamb 
which is in the midst of the throne shall feed" his peo- 
ple for ever there *' Vv^ith the fruits of the tree of life," 
and with unknown entertainments suited to a glori- 
fied state. *' He shall lead them to living fountains 
of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from 
their eyes." 

Thus have I set before you * the practical lessons' 
which pain is designed to teach us in our present 
state ; and we find that a body subject to maladies 


and pains, is a well appointed school, wherein our 
great Master gives us these divine instructions, and 
trains us up by degrees for the heavenly world. It is 
rough discipline indeed for the flesh, but it is whole- 
some for the soul : And there is many a Christian here 
on earth that have been made to confess, they had 
Rever learnt the practice of some of these virtues, if 
they had not been taught by such sort of discipline. 

Pain, which was brought into human nature at first 
by sin, is happily suited by the providence of God 
to such a state of probation, wherein creatures born 
in the midst of sins and sorrows are by degrees re- 
covered to the love of God and holiness, and fitted 
for a world of peace and joy. 

But when we have done with this world, and de- 
parted from the tribes of motal men, and from all the 
scenes of allurement and temptation, there is ho more 
need that sticb lessons should be taught us in beaven^ 
nor any painful scourge made use of by the Father 
of spirits, to carry on, or to maintain the divine work 
of holiness and grace within us. Let us survey this 
matter according to the foregoing particulars. 

Is it possible that while the blessed above are sur- 
rounded with endless satisfactions flowing fro.m the 
throne of God and the Lamb, they should ' forget 
their benefactor, and neglect his praises ?' Is it pos- 
sible they should dwell in immortal health and ease 
without interruption, under the constant vital influ- 
ences of the King of Glory, and yet want gratitude 
to the spring of all their blessings ? 


Nor is there any need for the inhabitants of a world, 
where no pains nor sorrows are foiind, * to learn 
compassion and sympathy to those who suffer,' for 
there are no sufferers there : But love and joy, in- 
tense and intimate love, and a harmony of joy runs 
through all that blessed company, and unites them 
in an universal sympathy, if I may so express it, or 
blissful sensation of each other's happiness. And I 
might add also, could there be such a thing as sor- 
row and misery in those regions, this divine princi- 
pic of love would work sweetly and powerfully to- 
wards such objects in all necessary compassion. 

What if pain was once made a spur to our du- 
ties, in this frail state of flesh and blood ? What if 
pain were designed as a guard against temptation, 
'and a means to awaken our watch against new trans, 
gression and guilt ? ^ut in a climate where all is ho- 
liness, and all is peace, in the full enjoyment of the 
gr^t God, and secured by that everlasting cove- 
nant which was sealed by the blood of the Lamb, there 
is no more danger of sinning. The soul is moulded 
into the more complete likeness of God, by living 
for ever under the light of his countenance and the 
warmest beams of his love. 

What if we had need of the stings of pain and an- 
guish in time past, ' to wean us by degrees from this 
body, and from all sensible things,' and to make us 
willing to part with them all at the call of God ? Yet 
when we arrive at the heavenly world, we shall have 
no more need of being weaned from earth, we shall 
never lopk back upon that state of pain and frailty 


with a wishful eye, being for ever satisfied ia the af- 
fluence of present joys. 

O glorious and happy state ! Where millions of 
creatures who have duelt in bodies of sin and pain, 
and have been guilty of innumerable follies and of- 
fences against their Maker, yet they are all forgiven, 
* their robes are washed, and made white in the 
blood of Jesus,' their iniquities are cancelled for ever, 
and there shall not be one stroke more from the hand 
of God to chasten them, nor one more sensation of 
pain to punish them. Divine and illustrious privi- 
lege indeed, and a glorious world, where complete 
sanctification of all the powers of nature shall for ever 
secure us from new sins, and where the springs and 
causes of pain shall for ever cease, both within us 
and without us. Our glorified bodies shall have no 
avenue for pain to enter ; the gates of heaven shall 
admit no enemy to aiHict or hurt us : God is our 
everlasting friend, and our souls shall be satisfied 
with the '• rivers of pleasure which flow for ever at 
wie right hand of God." Amen. 

c 3 






Rom. viii. 23. 

And not only tbey^ hut oursehes also ivho bane the first 
fruits of the Spirit^ euen we oursehes groan within 
oursehes, waiting for the adoption^ that isy the re- 
detnption of the body. 


IT is by a beautiful figure of speech the Apostle had 
been describing, in the foregoing verses, the unna- 
tural abuse which the creatures suffer through the 
sins of men, when they are employed to sinful pur^ 
poses and the dishonour of God their Creator. Per- 
mit me to read the words and represent the sense of 
them in a short paraphrase. Ver. 22. ** We know 
that the whole creation groaneth and travelleth in 
pain together until now.*' The earth itself may be 
represented as groaning to bear such loads of ini- 
quity, such a multitude of wicked men who abuse 
the creatures of God lo the dishonour of him that 
made them : The air may be said to groan to give 
breath to those vile wretches who abuse it in fiithi- 


ncss and foolish talking, to the dishonour of God, 
and to the scandal of their neighbours; it groans to 
furnish men with breath that is abused in idolatry by 
the false worship of the true God, or the worship 
of creatures which is abominable in his sight : The 
sun itself may be said to groan to give light to those 
sinners who abuse both day-light and darkness in 
rioting and wantonness, in doing mischief among 
men and committing fresh iniquities against their 
Maker : The moon and stars are abused by adulterers 
and thieves, and other midnight sinners, when they any 
way afford light enough to them to guide them in their 
pursuit of wicked ways and practices. The * beasts 
of burden' may be said also to groan and be abused 
when they bear the wicked sons and daughters of 
Adam to the accomplishment of their iniquities : 
And even all the parts of the brutal world, as well as 
of the inanimate creation, are some way or other 
made to serve the detestable and wicked purposes of 
the sinful children of men, and may be figuratively 
said to groan on this account. And if we have tast- 
ed of the fruits of the spirit of grace, we cannot but 
in some measure groan with the rest of the creation 
in expectation of the blessed day, when the creatures 
shall be delivered from this bondage of corruption, 
to which the providence of God has suffered them to 
be subjected in this degenerate state of things. 
We hope there is a time coming, when the creatures 
^ themselves shall be used according to the original 
appointment of their Maker, agreeable to their own 
first design, and for the good of their fellow- crea^ 


tures, and supremely for the honour of their God, 
<< in that day when holiness to the Lord shall be writ- 
ten upon the bells of the horses ; and every pot in 
Jerusalem shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts." 
Why should we not join then with the whole crea- 
tion in groaning and longing after this promisefl time, 
when all the works of God shall be restored to their 
rightful use, and the glory of the Maker shall some 
way or other be made to shine in every one of them ? 

The Apostle then adds, in the words of my text, 
^*and not these creatures only, but ourselves also who 
have the first fruit of the Spirit," we who are filled 
with the gifts and graces of the holy Spirit, and emi- 
nently the first fruits hereof appear in our taste and 
relish of the divine provisions that God has given 
us here in this world to prepare for a better ; and 
even bestows upon some of his Christian servants 
thesefirst fruits of the tree of paradise, these blessings, 
and these foretastes which are near a-kin to those of 
the upper world, when the saints shall be raised from 
the dead, when their adoption shall be clearly mani^ 
fested, and they shall look like the children of God, 
and their bodies and all their natural powers shall 
be redeemed from those disorders, whether of sin or 
sorrow, and from all the springs and seeds of them, 
which they are more or less liable to feel in the pre- 
sent state. 

fiere 1^ it be observed, that iht first fruits of any 
field, or plant, or tree, are of the same kind with the 
full product or the harvest ; therefore it is plain, that 
the first fruits of the Spirit, in this place cannot chief- 

discourse:^, or the foretaste of heaven. 285 

ly signify the gifts of the Spirit, such as the gifts of 
tongues, or of healing, or of miracles, nor the gifts 
of prophecy, preaching, or praying, because these 
are not the employments nor the enjoyments of hea- 
ven. The * first fruits of the Spirit' must rather 
refer therefore to the knowledge and holiness, the 
graces and the joys which are more perfect and glo- 
rious in the heavenly state, than they were ever de- 
signed to be here upon earth. Now these first fruits 
of graces and joys are sometimes bestowed upon 
Christians in this world, in such a degree as brings 
them near to the heavenly state : And that is tlue 
chief observation I design to draw from these words, 
viz. * That God has been pleased to give some of 
his children here on earth several of the foretastes of 
the heavenly blessedness, the graces and the joys, of 
the upper world ;' as they are the first fruits of that 
paradise to which we are travelling : And these pri- 
vileges have brought some of the saints within the 
verge of the courts of heaven, within the confines 
and borders of the celestial country. What these are 
I shall shew immediately; but before I represent 
them I desire to lay down these few cautions. 

Caution 1. ' These sensible foretastes of heaver, 
do not belong to all Christians ; these are not such 
general blessings of the covenant of grace, of which 
every Christian is made partaker;' but they are spe- 
cial favours now and then bestowed on some parti- 
cular persons by the special will of God. (1.) Such 
as are more eminent in faith, and holiness, and pray- 
er than others are, such as have made great advance- 


ments in every part of religion, in mortification to 
the world, in spiritual-mindedness, in humility, and 
in much converse with God, &c. Or, (2.) Some- 
times these first fruits may be given unto such as 
are weak both in reason and in faith, and may be 
babes in Christ, and are not able by their reasoning 
powers to search out their evidences for heaven, 
especially under some present temptation or dark- 
ness. Or, (3.) Sometimes to those who are called 
by providence to go through huge and uncommon 
trials and sufferings, in order to support their spirits, 
and bear up their courage, their faith and patience. 

It is true, the more general and common way 
whereby God prepares his people for heaven, is by 
leading them through several steps of advancing ho- 
liness, sincere repentance, mortification of sin, wean- 
cdness from the world, likeness to God, heavenly 
mindedness, Sec. These are indeed the usual prepa- 
ratives for glory, and the surest evidences of a state 
of grace. Therefore let not any person imagine lue 
is not a true Christian, because he hath not enjoy- 
ed these special favours and signal manifestations. 

Caution 2. ' If there be any who have been fa- 
voured with these peculiar blessings, they must not 
expect them to be constant and perpetual, nor always 
to be given in the same manner or same measure ;' 
they are rare blessings and special reviving cordials; 
they are not the common food of Christians, nor the 
daily nourishmentof the saints. The word of God, and 
the grace of Christ in the promises is our daily sup- 
port, and the constant nourishment of our souls. 


Cordials are not given for our daily nourishment in 
the life of grace. 

Cautions, 'However great and rapturous these 
foretastes may be, let us not so depend on them as 
to neglect the more substantial and solid evidences 
for heaven, and those steps of preparation* which I 
have elsewhere mentioned. Let not those who have 
enjoyed them give a loose to their souls, and let go 
their watchfulness, or neglect their daily mortifica- 
tion and diligence in every duty. Some of these di- 
vine raptures have sometimes been so nearly coun- 
terfeited by raptures of fancy, by warm self-love, or 
perhaps by the deceit of evil angels, that they are not 
so safe a foundation for our dependence and assured 
hope, as the soul's experience of a sincere repentance, 
and general turn of heart to God, and mortification of 
sin, and delight in every practice of holiness. The 
devil sometimes '* has transformed himself into an 
angel of light," 2 Cor. xi. 14. And there have been 
some who at first hearing of the gospel have had 
wondrous raptures. Heb. vi. 4. it is said, *' they 
have tasted of the powers of the world to come," &c. 
who have yet fallen away again, and having lost all 
their sense and savour of divine things, have become 
vile apostates. 

Caution 4. ' If you seem to enjoy any of these affec- 
tionate and rapturous foretastes of heaven, be jealous 
of the truth of them, if they have not a proportionate 
sanctifying influence upon your souls and your ac- 


If you find they incline you to negligence in duty, 
\p coldness in the common practices of religion and 
godliness, if they make you fancy that common ordi- 
nances are a low and needless dispensation, if they 
seem to excuse you from diligence in the common 
duties of life towards man, or religion towards God, 
there is great reason then to suspect them ; There is 
danger lest they should be mere suggestions and de- 
ceitful workings either of your own natural passions, 
or the crafty snares of the artful and busy adversary 
of souls, on purpose to make you neglect solid reli- 
gion, and make you part with what is substantial for a 
bright and flashy glimpse of heavenly things. 

But, on the other hand, if you find that these spe- 
cial favours and enjoyments raise your hearts to a 
greater nearness to God, and more constant converse 
with him; if they keep you deep in humility, and in 
everlasting dependence on the grace of Christ in the 
gospel, and%warm and zealous attendance on the or- 
dinances of worship; if they teach and incline you to 
fulfil every duty of love to your neighbour, and par- 
ticularly to your fellow Christians, then they appear 
to be the 'fruits of the Spirit;' and as they fit you 
for every duty and every providence hereupon earth, 
there is very good reason to hope they are real 
visits from heaven, and are sent from the God of 
all grace to make you more meet for the heavenly 



These are the four cautions* I proceed now to de- 
scribe some of these * foretastes of the heavenly- 
blessedness,' and shew how nearly they resemble the 
blessedness and enjoyments of the heavenly world. 

First, In * heaven there is a near view of God in 
his glories, with such a fixed contemplation of his 
several perfections, as draws out the heart into all 
correspondent exercises, in an uncommon, transcend- 
ent, and supreme degree.' It is described as one of 
the felicities of heaven, that ** we shall see God." 
Matth. V. 8. that we shall behold him *' face to face," 
and not in shadows and glasses, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 
Let us exhibit some particulars of this kind, and 
dwell a little upon them in the most easy and natural 

1. In heaven the blessed inhabitants * behold the 
majesty and greatness of God' in such a light as fixes 
their thoughts in glorious wonder and the humblest 
adoration, and exalts them to the highest pleasure and 
praise. Have you never fallen into such a devout 
and fixed contemplation of the * majesty of God,' as 
to be even astonished at his glory and greatness, and 
to have your souls so swallowed up in this sight, that 
all the sorrows and the joys of this life, all the busi- 
nesses and necessities of it hath been forgotten for a 
season, all dlings below and beneath God have seem- 
ed as nothing in your eyes ? All the i^randeurs and 
splendors of mortality have been buried in darkness 


and oblivion, and creatures have, as it were, vanish- 
ed from the thoughts and been lost, as the stars die 
and vanish at the rising sun and are no more seen > 
Have you never seen the face of God in his sublime 
grandeur, excellence and majesty, so as to shrink in- 
to the dust before him, and lie lov/ at his foot with 
humblest adoration ? And you have been transport- 
ed into a feeling acknowledgment of your own no- 
thingness in the presence of God. Such a sight the 
prophet Isaiah seems to have enjoyed, Isai. xl. 12, 
15, 17. ** Behold the nations before him are as the 
drop of the bucket, and as the small dust of the bal- 
ance, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. 
All nations before him are as nothing, they are count- 
ed to him less than nothing and vanity." 

When the lips are not only directed to speak this 
sublim.e language, but the soul, as it were, beholds 
God in these heights of transcendent majesty, it is 
overwhelmed with blessed wonder and surprising de- 
light, even while it adores iii most profound lowliness 
and self-abasement. This is the emblem of the wor- 
ship of the heavenly world, see Rev. iv. 10. where the 
elders, saints and prophets, martyrs, angels, and do- 
minions, and principalities of the highest degree 
**cast down their crowns'^ at the foot of him that made 
them, and exalt God in his supremacy over all. 

2. In heaven there are such blessed and extensive 
surveys of the ' infinite knowledge of God,' and his 
amazing wisdom discovered in his works, as makes 
even all their own heavenly improvements in know- 
ledge and understanding to appear as* mere ignorance, 


darkness, and folly before him. In such an hour as 
this is, the holy angels may charge ^^hemgelves with 
folly in his sight, as he beholds them in the imperfec- 
tion of their understanding. Now have you never 
been carried away in your meditations of the all-com- 
prehensive knowledge of God to such a degree, as to 
lose and abandon all your former pride and appear- 
ances of knowledge and wisdom in all the native arid 
acquired riches of it, and count them all as nothing 
in his sight? Have you never looked upward to the 
midnight skies, and with amazement sent your 
thoughts upward to him who * calls all the stars by 
their names,' and brings them forth in all their spark- 
ling glories, who marshals them in their nightly ranks 
and orders, and then stood overwhelmed with sacred 
astonishment at the wisdom which made and ranged 
them all in their proper situations, and there appoint- 
ed them to fulfil ten thousand useful purposes, and 
that not only towards this little ball of Earth, but to 
a multitude of upper planetary worlds ? Have you 
never enquired into the wonders of his wisdom in 
framing the bodies, the limbs, and the senses of mil- 
lions of animals, birds, and beasts, fishes, and insects, 
as well as men all around this globe, and who hath 
framed all their organs and powers of nature with 
exquisite skill, to see and hear, to run and fly, and 
swim, to produce their young in all their proper 
forms and sizes, furnished with their various powers, 
and to feed and nourish them in their innumerable 
shapes and colours, admirable for their strength and 
beauty > And have you not felt your souls filled with 


devout adoration at the unspeakable and infinite con- 
trivances of a God. 

And not only his ' works of creation,' but of his 
pro'vidence too, have afforded some pious souls such 
devout amazement. What astonishing wisdom must 
that be which has created mankind on earth near six 
thousand years ago, and by his divine word in every 
age continues to create them or give them being, 
with all the same natural powers and parts, beauties 
and excellencies! That he hath wisely governed so 
many millions of animals with living souls or spirits 
in them, so many millions of intelligent creatures, 
endued with a free will of their own to choose or re- 
fuse what they will or will not do, and hath managed 
this innumerable company of beings in all ages, not- 
withstanding all their different and clashing opinions 
and customs, their crossing humours, wills and pas* 
sions in endless variety, and yet hath made them all 
subservient to his own comprehensive designs and 
purposes through all ages of the world and all nations 
on earth ! What unconceivable wisdom is that which 
hath effectually appointed them all to centre in the 
accomplishment of his own eternal counsels ! And 
with what overwhelming amazement will this scene 
appear, when he shall shut up the theatre of this 
earth, and fold up these heavens as a curtain, and this 
visible structure of things shall be laid in ashes? 
What an astonishing view must this be of the all- 
surveying knowledge^ all-comprehending ivisdom of a 
God, and with what holy and humble pleasure must 
the pious soul be filled who takes in and enjoys this 


scene of infinite varieties and wonders ? How near 
doth such an hour approach to the bliss of heaven and 
the raptures of contemplation, which belong to the 
blessed inhabitants of it ? 

3. I might add something of the Almighty poller 
of God in his creation and government of the world, 
in his kingdoms of nature and providence. Did not 
the angels rejoice at the birth-day of this universe, 
and '* those morning stars shout for joy" at the first 
appearance of this creation ? And what the inhabit- 
ants of heaven make their song, may not a holy soul 
be entertained with it, even to extacy and rapture ? 
I behold, says he, in divine meditation, I behold this 
huge structure of the universe rising out of nothing 
at the voice of his command ; I behold the several: 
planets in their various orders set a moving by the 
same word of power. With what delightful surprise 
do I hear him pronouncing the words, '* let there be 
light," and, lo * the light appears?' Let there be 
earth and seas ; let there be clouds and heavens ; let 
there be sun, moon and stars, and lo the heavens, and 
the dry land, and the waters appear, the clouds and 
the stars in their various order and situation, and all 
the parts of the creation arise, all replenished with 
proper ornaments and animals according to his \vord. 
At his command nature exists in all its regions with 
all its furniture ; the beasts, and birds, and fishes in 
all their forms arise, and at once they obey the several 
Almighty orders he gave, and by the unknown and 
unconceivable force of such a word they leap out into 
existence in ten thousand forms. 


Again, what divine pleasure is it to hear a God 
beginning the work of his providence, and speaking 
those wondrous words of power to every plant and 
animal, *' be fruitful, and multiply, and replenfsh the 
earth," and lo, in a long succession of near six thou- 
sand years the earth has been covered all over with 
herbs and plants, with shrubs and tall trees in all their 
beauty and dimensions. The air hath been filled 
with birds and insects, the seas and rivers with fish, 
and the dry land with beasts and men even to this 
present day. When all this philosophy is chan9;ed 
into devotion, it must also be transformed into divine 
and unutterable joy. 

Nor are these things too low and mean for the con- 
templation of heavenly beings: For God is seen in all 
of them : There is not a spire of grass but the power 
and wisdom of a God are visible therein. And it is 
certain the heavenly beings must be sometimes em- 
ployed in the contemplation of many of these lower 
wonders. The plants and beasts in desolate regions 
where no man inhabits, and in distant and foreign 
oceans and rivers, where the fishy shoals in all their 
variety and numbers, in all their successions and 
generations for near six thousand years were never 
seen nor known by any of the sons of men ; these 
seem to have been created in vain, if no heavenly be- 
ings are acquainted with them, nor raise a revenue of 
glory to him that made them. 

This Almighty power therefore which made this 
huge universe, which sustains the frame of it every 
moment, and secures it from dissolving ; this power 


which brings forth the stars in their order, and worms 
and creeping things in their innumerable millions, 
and governs all the motions of them to the purposes 
of divine glory, must needs affect a contemplative 
soul with raptures of pleasing meditation ; and in 
these sublime meditations, by the aids of the di>':ne 
Spirit, a soul on earth may get near to heaven. And 
with what religious and unknown pleasure at such a 
season doth it shrink its own being as it were into 
an atom, and lie in the dust and adore ! 

4. The * all- sufficiency .of the great God to form 
and to supply every creature with all that it can w^ant 
or desire,' is another perfection of the divine nature, 
which is better known in heaven than it ever was here 
on earth, and affords another scene of astonishment 
and sacred delight : And there may be some ad- 
vances towards this pleasure found among saints be- 
low, some first fruits of this heavenly felicity and joy 
in the all-sufficiency of God. 

My whole self, body and mind, is from God and 
from him alone. All my limbs and powers of flesh 
and spirit were derived from him, and borrowed their 
first existence from their original pattern in his fruit- 
ful mind. AH that I have of life or comfort, of breath 
or being, with all my blessings round about me, is 
owing to his boundless and eternal fulness ; and all 
my long reaching hopes and endless expectations that 
stretch far into futurity, and an eternal v»^orld, are 
growing out of this same all-sufficient fulness. 

But what do I think or speak of so little a trifle as 
I am > Stretch thy thoughts, O my soul, througli the 


lengths, and breadths, and depths of his creation, O 
^vhat an unconceivable fulness of being, glory, and 
excellency is found in God the universal parent and 
spring of all ! What an inexhaustible ocean of being 
and life, of perfection and blessedness must our God 
be, who supplies all the infinite armies of his crea- 
tures in all his known and unknown dominions with 
life and motion, with breath and activity, with food 
and support, with satisfaction and delight ! Who 
maintains the vital powers and faculties of all the spi- 
rits which he hath made in all the visible and invisi- 
ble worlds, in all his territories of light, and peace, 
and joy, and in all the regions of darkness, punish- 
ment and misery! , In him all things ** live and move, 
and have their beings," Acts xvii. 28. Psal. civ. 
29. *' He withdraws his breath and they die." He 
hath writ down all their names in his own mind, he 
gives them all their natures, and without him there 
is nothing, there can be nothing ; all nature without 
him would have been a perpetual blank, an universal 
emptiness, an everlasting void, and wdth one turn 
of his will he could sink and dissolve all nature into 
its original nothing. 

Confess, O my soul, thy own nothingness in his- 
presence, and with astonishing pleasure and worship' 
adore his fulness: He is thy everlasting all. Be 
thy dependence ever fixed upon him ; thou canst^ 
not, thou shalt not live amomei/, without him, with- 
out this habitual dependence, and a frequent delight- 
ful acknowledgment of it. Such a devout frame as 
this, is heaven, and such scenes now and then pass- 


ing through the soul, are glimpses of the heavenly 


Though the eternity and immensity of God might 
perhaps, in their own nature, and in the reason of 
things, be first mentioned, yet his majesty, his pow- 
er, and his wisdom in their sovereign excellency 
strike the souls of creatures more immediately, there- 
fore I have put these first. However, let us now con- 
sider the eternity of the great God and his omnipre- 
sence, and think how the spirits in heaven are af- 
fected therewith, and what kindred meditations may 
be derived from these perfections by the saints here 
on earth. I proceed therefore, 

5. To the eternity of God : Which though the 
most exalted spirit in heaven cannot comprehend, 
yet it is probable they have some nearer and clearer 
discovery of it than we can have here in this mortal 
state, while we dwell in flesh and blood. We have 
nothing in this visible world that gives us so much 
as an example or similitude of it. The great God 
" who is, who was," and ** who is to come" through 
all ages, he is, and was, and for ever will be the same. 
Let us go back as many thousand ages as we can in 
our thoughts, and still an eternal God was before 
them ; a Being that had no beginning of his exist- 
ence, nor will h^ve any end of his life or duration. 
And as he says to Moses, my name is I am that I am^ 
so as there is nothing which had any hand in his be- 

E 3 


itig, but all the reasons of it are derivedTrom his own 
self-fulness, therefore we may say of him that he is 
because he is, and because he will be : He had no 
spring of his first beginning, nor any cause of his 
continued existence, but what is within himself. 
We can never set ourselves in too mean a light v/hen 
an eternal God is near us ; and every thing besides 
God can be but little in our eyes. 

And, O my thinking powers, are ye not sweetly 
lost in this holy rapture, and overpowered with di- 
vine pleasure, O my soul in such meditation as this ? 
Art thou not delightfully surprised with the thoughts 
of such self sulficience and such an unconceivable 
perfection ? Thy being considered as here in this 
life, is not so much in the sight of God as an atom in 
comparison of the whole earth ; and even the sup- 
posed future ages of thy existence in the eternal state 
are unconceivabiy short, when compared with the 
glory of that Being that never began his life or his 

Many things here on earth concur towards my sa- 
tisfaction and peace, but if I have Gpd my friend, I 
have all in him that I can possibly want or desire. 
Let me then live no longer upon creatures when God 
is all. 

Let sun, moon and stars vanish, and all this vi- 
sible creation disappear and be for ever annihilated 
if God please, he himself is still my eternal hope and 
neverfailing spring of all my blessedness : My ex- 
pectations are continually safe in his hands, and shall 


never fail while I am so near to him. This is joy 

unspeakable and a-kin to glory. 

6. Let us meditate also on the immensity of God, 

which I think is much better expressed by his omni- 
presence. God is wheresoever any creature is or can 

be ; knowing immediately by his own presence all 
that belongs to them, all that they are or can be, all 
that they do or can do, all that concerns them, whe- 
ther their sins or their virtues, their pains or their 
pleasures, their hopes or their fears. It implies alsQ 
that he doth by his immediate power and influence 
support and govern all the creatures. In short, this 
immensity is nothing else but the infinite extent of his 
knowledge and his power, anri it reaches to and be- 
yond all places, as eternity reaches to and beyond all 
time. This the blessed above know and rejoice in, 
and take infinite satisfaction therein : Having Go(J, 
as it w^ere, surrounding then> on all sides, so that they 
cannot be where he is not, he is ever present with 
his all-sufficiency ready to bestow on them all they 
wish or desire while he continues their God, i. e. for 
ever and ever. They are under the blessing of his 
eye, and the care of his hand, to guard them from 
every evil, and to secure their peace. 

Let thy flesh or spirit be surrounded with ever so 
many thousand dangers or enemies, they cannot do 
thee the least damage without his leave by force or 
by surprise while such an Almighty Being is all 
around thee : Nor hast thou reason to indulge any 
fear while the spring and ocean of all life, activity, 
and blessedness thus secures thee on every sidco If 


thou hast the evidences of his children on thee, thou 
possessest an eternal security of thy peace. 

7. ' The sovereignty and dominion' of the blessed 
God is a further meditation and pleasure which be- 
comes and adorns the inhabitants of the heavenly 
world. There he reigns upon the throne of his glory, 
and the greater part of the territories which are sub- 
ject to him are less in their view than our scanty 
powers of nature or perception can now apprehend, 
and a proportionable degree of pleasure is found with 
the saints above in these contemplations. 

But in our present state of mortality our souls can 
only look through these lattices of flesh and blood, 
and make a few scanty and imperfect inferences from 
what they always see, and hear, and feel : And yet 
the glorious sovereignty and dominion of the blessed 
God may so penetrate the soul with a divine sense of 
it here on earth, as to raise up a heaven of wonder 
and joy within. 

Adore him, O my soul, who surveys and rules all 
things which he has made with an absolute authority, 
and is for ever uncontroulable. How righteous a 
thing is it that he should give laws to all the beings 
which his hand hath formed, which his breath hath 
spoken into life, and especially that rank which his 
favour hath furnished with immortality ? How just 
that he should be obeyed by every creature without 
the least reluctance or reserve, without a moment's 
delay, and that to all the length of their existence? 

Submit to his government with pleasure, O my 
nature, and be all ye my powers of soul and body in 


everlasting readiness to do whatsoever he requires, 
and to be whatsoever he appoints. Wilt thou have 
me, O Lord, lie under sickness or pain, wilt thou 
have me languish under weakness and confinement? 
I am at thy foot, I am for ever at thy disposal. Wilt 
thou have me active and vigorous in thy service? 
Lord, I am ready with utmost cheerfulness. Wilt 
thou confine me to painful idleness and long patience ? 
Lord here I am, do with me what seemeth good 
unto thee, I am ready to serve thy purposes here, 
or thy orders in the unknown world of spirits, when 
thou shalt dissolve this mortal frame : I lay down 
these limbs in the dust of death at thy command : I 
venture into the regions of angels and unbodied minds 
at thy summons. I will be what thou wilt, I will go 
when thou wilt, I will dwell where thou wilt, for thou 
art always with me, and I am entirely thine. I both 
rejoice and tremble at thy sovereignty and dominion 
over all. God cannot do injury to a creature who is 
so entirely his own property ; God will not deal un- 
kindly with a creature who is so sensible of his just 
dominion and supremacy, and which bows at the 
foot of his sovereignty with so much relish of satis- 

8. Let us next take notice of i\\Q perfect purity of 
the nature of God, his unher sal holiness^ the rectitude 
of the divine nature manifested in all his thoughts^ 
his works, and his words, all perfectly agreeable to 
the eternal rules of truth and righteousness, and at 
the furthest distance from every thing that is false 
and faulty, every thing that is or can be dishonour- 


able to so glorious a Being. Have we never seen 
God in this light, in the glory of his holiness, 
his universal rectitude, and the everlasting har- 
mony of all his perfections in exact correspondence 
with all the notions we can have of truth and reason? 
And has not God appeared then as a glorious and 
lovely Being ? And have we not at the same time be- 
held ourselves as unclean, and unholy creatures, in 
one part or other of our natures, ever ready to jar or 
fall out with some of the most pure and perfect rules 
of holiness, justice or truth? Have we not seen all our 
sins and iniquities in this light, with utmost abhor- 
rence and highest hatred of them, and looked down 
upon ourselves widi a deep and overwhelming sense 
of shame and displicence against our depraved and 
corrupted natures, and abased ourselves as Job does, 
in dust and ashes, and not daring to open our mouths 
before him? Job xlii. 6. "I have heard of thee by 
the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee, 
and I abhor myself in dust and ashes." The least 
spot or blemish of sin grows highly oflensive and 
painful to the eyes of .a saint in this situation. 

Every little warping from truth in our conversa- 
tion, every degree of insincerity or fraud becomes a 
smarting uneasiness to the mind in the remembrance 
of our past follies in the present state. There is the 
highest abhorrence of sin among all the heavenly in- 
habitants, and this sight of God in the beauties of his 
holiness, and his perfect rectitude, is an everlasting 
preservative to holy souls against the admission of an 
impure or unholy thought : And therefore some di- 


vines have supposed, that the angels at their first 
creation were put into a state of trial before they were 
admitted to this full sight of the beauty of God in his 
holiness, which would have secured them from the 
least thought or step towards apostacy. 

O my soul, of what happy importance it is to thee 
to maintain, as long as possible, this sense of the 
purity^ rectitude and perfection of the nature of the 
blessed God, '' who is of purer eyes than to behold 
iniquity,'* with the least regard of approbation or 
allowance ? And what infinite condescension is it in 
such a God to find out and appoint a way of grace, 
whereby such shameful polluted creatures as we are 
should ever be admitted into his presence to make 
the least address to his majesty, or to hope for his 
favour ? 

Besides, in this sublime view of the holiness of 
God, we shall not only love God better than ever, as 
we see him more amiable under this view of his glo- 
rious attributes, but we shall grow more sincere and 
fervent in our love to all that is holy, to every fellow 
Christian, to every saint in heaven and on earth: We 
shall not bear any estrangedness or alienation from. 
those who have so much of the likeness of God in 
them. They will ever appear to be the '^excellent 
of the earth, in whom is all our delight:" Their sup- 
posed blemishes will vanish at the thought of their 
likeness to God in holiness : And especially our bless- 
ed Lord Jesus, the Son of God, will be most precious 
and all glorious in our eyes as he is the most perfect 
itnage of his Father's holiness. There is nothing ia 


the blessed God, but the man Christ Jesus bears a 
proportionable resemblance to it, as far as a creature 
can resemble God, and he will consequently be high- 
est in our esteem under God the Lord and Father of 

9. The ever-pleasing attribute of divine * goodness 
and love* is another endless and joyful theme or ob- 
ject of the contemplation of the heavenly world. 
There this perfection shines in its brightest rays, 
there it displays its most triumphant glories, and 
kindles a flame of everlasting joy in all the sons of 

But we in this world may have such glimpses of 
this goodness and love as may fill the soul with 
unspeakable pleasure, and begin in it the first fruits 
and earnest of heaven. When we survey the inex- 
haustible ocean of goodness which is in God, which 
iills and supplies all the creatures with every thing 
they stand in need of; when we behold all the tribes 
of the sons of men supported by his boundless sufH- 
ciency, his bounty and kind providence, and refresh- 
ed with a thousand comforts beyond what the mere 
necessities of nature require : In such an hour if we 
feel the least fiowings of goodness in ourselves to- 
wards others, we shall humble ourselves to the dust, 
and cry out in holy amazement. Lord, what is an 
atom to a mountain? What is a drop to a river, a 
sea of beneficence ? What is a shadow to the eternal 
substance? What good thing is there in time or in 
eternity, which I can possibly want which is not 
abundantly supplied out of thine overflowing fulness ? 


Hence arises the eternal satisfaction of all the holy and 
happy creation in being so near to thee, and under 
the everlasting assurances of thy love. I can do no- 
thing but fall down before thee in deepest humiHty, 
and admire, adore, and everlastingly love thee, who 
hast assumed to thyself the name of love, 1 John iv, 
8. '<God is love." 


Thus far our joys may rise into an imitation of the 
joys above in the devout * contemplation of divine 

And not only the * perfections of God' considered 
and surveyed single in themselves, but the union and 
blessed harmony of many of them in the divine works 
and transactions of Providence and of grace, espe- 
cially in the gospel of Christ, administer further mat- 
ter for contemplation and pleasure among the happy 
spirits in heaven : And so far as this enjoyment may 
be communicated to the saints here on earth, they 
may be also said to have a foretaste of the business 
and pleasure of heaven. Let us take notice of this 
harmony in several instances. 

1. In the sacred constitution of the person of our 
Lord Jesus Christ as God and man united in one per- 
sonal agent : Here majesty and mercy give a glorious 
instance of their union, here all the grandeur and 
dignity of Godhead condescends to join itself in 
union with a creature, such as man is, a spirit dwell- 
ing in flesh and blood. 1 Tim. ii. 5, *' There is one 

F 3 


God, and one Mediator between God and men, even 
the man Christ Jesus :" But this man is personally 
united to the blessed God, he is *' God manifested 
in the flesh :" He is a man in '' whom dwells all the 
fulness of the Godhead bodily," to constitute one all- 
sufficient Saviour of miserable and fallen mankind : 
What an amazing stoop or condescension is this for 
the eternal Godhead thus to join itself to a creature, 
and what a surprising exaltation isthisof the creature, 
for the man Christ Jesus thus to be assumed into so 
near a relation to the blessed God ? All the glories 
that result from this divine contrivance and transac- 
tion are not to be enumerated in paper, n6r by the best 
capacity of writers here on earth : The heavenly m- 
habitants are much better acquainted with them. 

Again, here is an example of the harmony and 
co-operation of unsearchable wisdom and all-com- 
manding power in the person of the blessed Jesus; 
and what a happy design is hereby executed, namely, 
the reconciliation of sinful man and the holy and glo- 
rious God : and who could do this but one who was 
possessed of such wisdom and such power ? When 
there was no creature in heaven or earth sufficient 
for this work, God was pleased to appoint such an 
union between a creature and Creator, between God 
and man, as might answer all the inconceivable pur- 
poses concealed in his thought. If there be wanting 
a person fit to execute any of his infinite designs, he 
will not be frustrated for want of an agent, he will 
appoint God and man to be so nearly united as to be- 
come one agent to execute this design. 


2. * In the manner of our salvation,' (viz.) by an 
atonement for sin.' The great God did not think 
it proper, nor agreeable to his sublime holiness, to re- 
ceive sinful man into his favour without an atone- 
ment for sin, and a satisfaction made to the Gov- 
ernor of the world for the abuse and violation of his 
holy law here on earth ; and therefore he appointed 
such a sacrifice of atonement as might be sufficient 
to do complete honour to the law-giver, as well as to 
save and deliver the offender from death : Therefore 
Jesus was made a man capable of suffering and dying, 
that he might honour the majesty and the justice of 
the broken law of God, and that he might do it com- 
pletely by the union of Godhead to this man and Me- 
diator ; the dignity of whose divinity diffuses itself 
over all that he did and all that he suffered, so as to 
make his obedience completely acceptable to God 
instead of thousands of creatures, and fully satisfac- 
tory for the oflence that was given him by them ; 
here is a sacrifice provided equal to the guilt of sin, 
and therefore sufficient to take it away. 

You see here what a blessed harmony there is be- 
tween the justice of God doing honour to his own law, 
and his compassion resolved to save a ruined creature : 
Here is no blemish cast upon the strict justice and 
righteousness of God, when the offender is forgiven 
in such a method as may do honour to justice and 
mercy at once. Rom. iii. 24, 25. ** We are justified 
freely by his grace through the redemption that is in 
Jesus Christ ; whom God hath set forth to be a pro- 
pitiation througli faith in his blood, to declare his 


righteousness," even his perfect governing justice, 
though he passes by and pardons the sins of a thou- 
sand criminal creatures: 'To declare,' I say, * at 
this time his righteousness, that he might appear to 
be just' to his own authority and law, while he justi- 
iies the sinful man who believeth or trusteth in Jesus 
the Mediator as becoming a proper sacrifice and pro- 
pitiation for sin. 

3. By the * sanctification of our nature.' There is 
also another remarkable harmony between the holi- 
ness of God and his mercy in this work of the salva- 
tion of sinful man. The guilt of sin is not only to be 
forgiven and taken away by a complete atonement 
and sacrifice, but the sinful nature of this ruined 
creature is to be changed into holiness, is to be re- 
newed and sanctified by the blessed Spirit, and re- 
formed into the image of God his Maker : He must 
not only be released from punishment by forgive- 
ness, but he must be restored to the image of God by 
sanctifying grace ; that so he may be fit company for 
the rest of the favourites of God in the upper world ; 
that he may be qualified to be admitted into this 
society, where perfect purity and holiness are neces- 
sary for all the inhabitants of this upper world, and 
for such near attendants on the blessed God : In that 
happy state nothing shall enter there that defileth, 
Rev. xxi. 27. and therefore concerning the criminals 
amongst the Corinthians, as vile and as offensive to 
the pure and holy God as they are represented, 1 
Cor. vi. 9, — 11. viz. ^'Fornicators, idolaters, adulter- 
ers, drunkards, &c. but, it is said, thdy are washed, 


but they are sanctified, but they are justified in the 
name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our 

Now when the souls of the saints here on earth are 
raised to such divine contemplations, what transport- 
ing satisfaction and delight must arise from the sur- 
prising 'union and harmony' of the attributes of the 
blessed God in these his transactions ? And especi* 
ally when the soul in the lively exercise of grace and 
view of its own pardon, justification, and restored ho- 
liness, looks upon itself as one of these happy favour- 
ites of the majesty of heaven: It cries out as it were 
in holy amazement, ' What a divine profusion is here 
of wisdom and power, glory and grace, to save a 
wretched worm from everlasting burnings, and to ad- 
vance a worthless rebel to such undeserved and ex- 
alted glories ! 


* The wonders of divine perfections united in the 
success of the gospel,' give an ecstasy of joy some- 
times to holy souls. Not only do these views of the 
united perfections of God, as they are concerned in 
the contrivance of the gospel, entertain the saints 
above with new and pleasurable contemplations, but 
the wonders of divine wisdotn, power and grace, unit- 
ed and harmonizing in * the propagation and success 
of this gospel,' become a matter of delightful atten- 
tion and survey to the saints on high. 


This is imitated also in a measure by the children 
of God here on earth. Have you never felt such a 
surprising pleasure in the view of the attributes of 
God, his grace, wisdom, and power in making these 
divine designs so happily efficacious for the good of 
thousands of souls? If there **be joy in heaven among 
the angels of God" at the conversion *' of a sinner,'* 
what perpetual messages of unknown satisfaction and 
delight did the daily and constant labours of the bless- 
ed Apostle Paul send to the upper world ? What per- 
petual tidings were carried to the worlds on high of 
such and such souls, converted unto God from gross 
idolatry, from the worship of dumb idols, from the 
vain superstition of their heroes and mediator- gods, 
and from the impure and bloody sacrifices of their 
own countrymen, whereby they intended to satisfy 
their gods for their own iniquities, and to reconcile 
themselves to these invented gods, these demons or 
devils which were deified by the folly and madness of 
sinful men ? What new hallelujahs must it put into 
the mouths of the saints and angels on high, to see 
the true and living God worshipped by thousands 
that had never before known him, and to see Jesus 
the Mediator in all the glories of his divine offices ad- 
mired and adored by those who lately had either 
known nothing of him, or been shameful revilers and 
blasphemers of his majesty. 

And what an unknown delight is diffused through 
many of the saints of God now here on earth upon 
such tidings, not only from the foreign and heathen 
countries, bat even some that have professed Chris- 


tianity, but under gross mistakes and miserable fogs 
of darkness and superstition ? What an unconceiv- 
able and overwhelming pleasure has surprised a 
Christian sometimes in the midst of his zealous wor- 
ship of God and his Saviour, to hear of such tidings 
of new subjects in multitudes submitting themselves 
to their divine dominion ? 

And even in our day, whensoever we hear of the 
work of grace begun by the ministry of the* word 
awakening a drowsy and lethargic soul from its dan- 
gerous sleep on the brink of hell, rousing a negli- 
gent and slothful creature from his indolence and 
carelessness about the things of eternity ; or again^ 
in making a heart soft and impressive to the powers 
of divine grace, which was before hard as the nether 
millstone ; and especially when multitudes of these 
tidings come together from distant places, as of late 
we have heard from New England, and several of 
those plantations, from Scotland, and several of her 
assemblies, what additional scenes of heavenly joy 
and pleasure have been raised amongst the pious 
souls, both those who relate and those who hear 


Foretastes of heaven are sometimes derived from 
* the overflowing sense of the love of God' let in up- 
on the soul. 

The spirits above who are surrounded with this 
blessedness and this love, and rejoice in the everlast- 


ing assurance of it, cannot but be filled with intense 
joy. What can be a greater foundation of complete 
blessedness and delight than the immediate ' sensa- 
tion and assurance of being beloved by the glorious, 
and supreme, and the all-sufficient Being, who will 
never suffer his favourites to want any thing he can 
bestow upon them to make them happy in perfection, 
and for ever ? All creatures are under his present 
view and immediate command ; there is not the least 
of them can give disturbance to any of the favourites 
of heaven, who dwell in the midst of their Creator's 
love ; nor is there any creature that can be employ- 
ed towards the complete happiness of the saints on 
high, but is for ever under the disposal of that God 
who has made all things, and it shall be employed 
upon every just occasion for the display of his love 
to his saints. 

Some have imagined, that that * perfect satisfaction 
of soul which arises from a good conscience, speak- 
ing peace inwardly in the survey of its sincere de- 
sire to please God in all things, and having with up- 
rightness of heart fulfilled its duty,' is the supreme 
delight of heaven : But it is my opinion God has ne- 
ver made the felicity of his creatures to be drawn so 
entirely out of themselves, or from the spring of their 
own bosom, as this notion seems to imply. God 
himself will be all i?i all to his creatures ; and all 
their original springs of blessedness as well as being 
are in him, and must be derived from him: It is 
therefore the overflowing sense of being beloved by a 
God almighty and eternal, that . is the supreme foun- 


tain of joy and blessedness in every reasonable na- 
tare, and the endless security of this happiness is joy 
everlasting in all the regions of the blessed above. 

Now a taste of this kind is heavenly blessedness 
even on this earth, where God is pleased to bestow it 
on his creatures ; and the glimpses of it bring such 
ecstacies into the soul as can hardly be conceived, or 
revealed to others, but it is best felt by them who en- 
joy it. 


* Foretastes of heaven in the fervent emotions of 
soul in love to Jesus Christ.' 

What the love and strong affections of the blessed 
saints above towards Jesus Christ their Lord and Savi- 
our may impress of joy on their spirits, is not possible 
for us to learn in the present state; but there are some 
who have even here on earth felt such transcendent 
affections to Jesus the Son of God, even though they 
have never enjoyed the sight of him, yet they love 
him with most intense and ardent zeal ; their devo- 
tion almost swallows them up and carries them away 
captive above all earthly things, and brings them 
near to the heavenly world. There is an unknown 
joy which arises from such intense love to an object 
so lovely and so deserving; such is that which is 
spoken concerning the saints to whom St. Peter 
wrote, 1 Pet. i. 8. ** Whom having not seen, ye love, 
in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing 
ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." 

G 3 


It is through this divine taste of love, and joy, and 
glory communicated by the blessed Spirit, revealing 
the things of Christ to their souls, that many of the 
confessors and martyrs in the primitive ages and in 
latter times, have not only joyfully parted with all their 
possessions and their comforts in this life, but have 
followed the call of God through prisons and deaths 
of a most dreadful kind ; through racks, and fires, 
and many torments for the sake of the love of Jesus: 
And perhaps there may be some in our day who have 
had so lively and strong a sensation of the love of 
Christ let in upon their souls, that they could not 
only be content to be absent from all their carnal de- 
lights for ever, but even from their intellectual and 
more spiritual entertainments, if they might be for 
ever placed in such a situation to Jesus Christ, as to 
feel the everlasting beams of his love let out upon 
them, and to rejoice in him with perpetual delight. 
As he is the nearest image of God the Father, they 
can love nothing beneath God equal to their love of 
him, nor delight in any thing beneath God equal to 
their delight in Jesus Christ: Indeed their love and 
their joy are so wrapped up in the great and blessed 
God as he appears in Christ Jesus, that they do not 
usually divide their affections in this matter, but love 
God supremely for ever, as revealing himself in his 
most perfect love in Christ Jesus unto their souls. 
How near this may approach to the glorified love of 
the saints in heaven, or what difference there is be- 
tween the holy ones above and the saints below in 
this respect, may be hard to sa}'. 



* Foretastes of heaven in the transcendent love of 
the saints to each other.' I might here ask some ad- 
vanced saints, 

Have you never seen or heard of a fellow Chris- 
tian growing into such a near resemblance to the 
blessed Jesus, in all the virtues and graces of the spi- 
rit, that you would willingly part with all the attain- 
ments and honours that you have already arrived at, 
which make you never so eminent in the world or the 
church, as to be made so near a conformist to the 
image of the blessed Jesus as this fellow Christian 
has seemed to be ? 

Have you never seen or read of the glories and 
graces of the Son of God exemplified in some of the 
saints in so high a degree, and at the same lime been 
so divested of self, and so mortified to a narrow self- 
love, as to be satisfied with the lowest and the meanest 
supports of life, and the meanest station in the church 
of Christ here on earth, if you might but be favour- 
ed to partake of that transcendent likeness to the 
holy Jesus, as you would fain imitate and possess. 

Have you never had a view of all the virtues and 
graces of the saints, derived from one eternal foun- 
tain, the blessed God, and flowing through the medi- 
ation of Jesus his Son, in so glorious a manner, that 
you have longed for the day when you shall be amongst 
them, and receive your share of this blessedness r 
Have you never found yourself so united to them in 


one heart and one soul, that you have wished them 
all the same blessings that you wished to yourself, 
and that without the least shadow of grudging or 
envy, if every one of them were partaker as much as 
you? There is no en'vy among the heavenly inhabit- 
ants; nor doth St. Paul receive the less because Ce- 
phas or Apollos has a large share. Every vessel has 
its capacity enlarged to a proper extent by the God 
of nature and grace, and every vessel is completely 
filled, and feels itself for ever full and for ever happy : 
Then there cannot be found the shadow of envy 
amongst them. 

Now, to sum up the view of these things in short; 
who is there that enjoys these blessed evidences of an 
interest in the inheritance on high, who is there that 
has any such foretastes of the felicity above, but 
must join, with the whole creation in groaning for that 
great day, when all the children of God shall appear 
in the splendor of their adoption, and every thing in 
nature and grace among them shall attain the proper 
end for which it was at first designed? And whenso- 
ever any such Christian hears some of the last words 
in the Bible pronounced by our Lord Jesus, '* Surely 
I come quickly," he must immediately join the uni- 
versal echo of the saints with unspeakable delight, 
^'evei] so come, O Lord Jesus." 




Joe. xiv. 13, 14, 15. 

that thou w) Quids t hide me in the gra^e^ that thou 
rooiddst keep me in secret until thy wrath be past, 
that thou ivouldst appoint me a set time and remem- 
ber me ! If a man die shall he lii^e again ? All the 
days of my appointed time %vill Iwait till my change 
come. Thou shah call and I will answer thee: Thou 
wilt have a desire to the %vork of thy hands, 

BEFORE we attempt to make any improvement 
of these words of Job for our present edification, it 
is necessary that we search out the true meaning of 
them. There are two general senses of these three 
verses, which are given by some of the most consi- 
derable interpreters of Scripture, and they are ex= 
ceeding different from each other. 

T\\t first is this. Some suppose Job under the ex- 
tremity of his anguish to long after death here, as he 


does in some other parts of this book, and to desire 
that God would cut him olF from the land of the liv- 
ing, and '' hide him in the grave," or, at least, take 
him away from the present stage of action, and con- 
ceal him in some retired and solitary place, dark as 
the grave is, till all the days which might be design- 
ed for his pain and sorrow were finished : And that 
God would " appoint him a time" for his restoration 
to healtli and happiness again in this world, and raise 
him to the possession of it, by calling him out of 
that dark and solitary place of retreat; and then Job 
would answer him, and appear with pleasure at such 
a call of Providence. 

Others give this sense of the words, that though 
the pressing and overwhelming sorrows of this good 
man constrained him to long for death, and he en- 
treated of God that he might be sent to the *' grave 
as a hiding-place," and thus be delivered from his 
present calamities, yet he had some divine glimpse 
of a resurrection or Ihing again^ and he hopes for the 
happiness of a future state when God should call him 
out of the grave. He knew that the blessed God 
would have * a desire to' restore ' the work of his 
own hands' to life again, and Job would * answer the 
call' of his God into a resurrection with holy plea- 
sure and joy. 

Now there are four or five reasons which incline me 
to prefer this latter sense of the words, and to shew 
that the comforts and hope which Job aspires to in 
this place, are only to be derived from a resurrection 
to final happiness. 


1. The express words of the text are, *'0 that 
thou wouldst hide me in the grave !" Not in a dark- 
some place like the grave; and where the literal sense 
of the words is plain and agreeable to the context, 
there is no need of making metaphors to explain them. 
There is nothhig that can encourage us to suppose that 
Job had any hope of happiness in this world again, 
after he was gone down to the grave, and therefore 
he would not make so unreasonable a petition to the 
great God. This seems to be too foolish and too hope- 
less a request for us to put into the mouth of so wise 
and good a man. 

2. He seems to limit the continuance of man In 
the state of death to the duration of the heavens, ver. 
12th, " man lieth down and riseth not till the heavens 
be no more:'' Not absolutely yc>r cuer does Job desire 
to be hidden in the grave, but till the dissolution of 
all these visible things, these heavens and this earth, 
and the great rising-day for the sons of men. These 
words seem to have a plain aspect towards the resur- 

And especially when he adds, ** they shall not be 
wakened nor raised out of their sleep." The brutes 
w^hen dying are never said to sleep in Scripture, be- 
cause they shall never rise again ; but this is a fre- 
quent word used to signify the death of man both in 
the Old Testament and in the New, because he only 
lies down in the grave for a season, as in a bed of 
sleep, in order to awake and arise hereafter. 

3. In other places of this book. Job gives us some 
evident hints of his hope of a resurrectionj especially 


that divirie passage and prophecy, when he spake as 
one surrounded with a vision of glory, and filled with 
the light and joy of faith. Job xix. 25. '' I know 
that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at 
the latter day upon the earth : And though after my 
skin worms destroy this body, yet in my fiesh shall 
I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine 
eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins 
be consumed within me." But in many parts of this 
book the good man lets us know, that he had no 
manner of hope of any restoration to health and peace 
in this life. Job vii. 6, 7, 8. *'My days are spent 
without hope : Mine eye shall no more see good : 
The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no 
more: Thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.*" 
Ver. 21. *' Now shall I sleep in the dust, thou shalt 
seek me in the morning and I shall not be." Job xvii. 
15. " Where is now my hope ? As for my hope, who 
shall see it ?" He and his hope seemed '* to go down 
to the bars of the pit together, and to rest in the 
dust." And if Job had no hope of a restoration in 
this world, then his hopes must point to the resur 
rection of the dead. 

4. If we turn these verses here, as well as that no 
ble passage in Job xix. to the more evangelical sense 
of a resurrection, the truths which are contained in 
the one and the other, are all supported by the Ian-. 
guage of the Nev/ Testament: And the express words 
of both these texts are much more naturally and 
easily applied to the evangelical sense, v/ithout any 
strain and diificulty. 


The expressions in the xixth of Job, *' I know 
that my Redeemer liveth," &:c, have been rescued 
by many wise interpreters from that poor and low 
sense which has been forced upon them, by those 
who will not allow Job to have any prospect beyond 
this life : And it has been made to appear to be a 
bright glimpse of divine light and joy, a ray or vision 
of the sun of righteousness breaking in between the 
dark clouds of his pressings sorrow: And that the 
words of my text demand the same sort of interpreta- 
tion, will appear further by these short remarks, and 
this paraphrase upon them. 

Job had been speaking, ver. 7. Sec. that ** there is 
hope of a tree when it is cut down that it will sprout 
again" visibly, and bring forth boughs; but when 
" man gives up the ghost" he is no more visible up- 
on earth: "Where is he?" Job does not deny his 
future existence, but only intimates that he does not 
appear in the place where he was ; and in the follow- 
ing verses he does not say, a dying man shall never 
rise, or shall * never be awakened out of his sleep,' 
but asserts that ''he rises not till" the dissolution of 
*' these heavens" and these visible things: And by 
calling death a sleeps he supposes an awaking time, 
though it may be distant and far off. 

Then he proceeds to long for death, ** O that thou 
wouldst hide me in the grave ! That thou wouldst 
keep me secret till thy wrath be past!" Till these 
times and seasons of sorrow be ended, which seem 
to be the effect of divine wrath or anger : But then 
I entreat "thou wouldst appoint me a set time" fur 

H 3 

422 SAFETY IN niK GRAVE, jnSCOURSf: ^' I. 

my tanjing in the grave, *'and remember mt'^ in 
order to raise me again. 'J'hen with a sort of sur- 
prise of faith and |))easi!re he adds, " if a man die 
shall he live again? Shall these dry bones live?" And 
he answers in the language of hope: ** All the days of 
that appointed time" of thine ** I will wait till that 
glorious change shall come. Thou shalt call" from 
heaven, '*and I will answer thee" from the dust of 
death. I u ill appear at thy call and say, " Here am 
I : Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands," 
to raise n\e again from the dead, whom thou hast 
made of clay, and fashioried me into life. 

From the words thus expounded, we may draw 
these several ebscr'vatwns, and make a short reflec- 
tion upon each of them, as we pass along. 

Obs. I. This world is a place v\ herein good men 
are exposed to great calamities^ and they are ready to 
think the anger or wrath of God appears in them. 

Obs, II. The grave is God's known hiding-place 
fur his j.eople. 

Obs, III. God has appointed a set time in his own 
counsels fur all his children to continue in death. 

Obs. IV. The lively view of a happy resurrection, 
and a well-groundf d hope of this blessed change, is 
a solid and divine comfort to the saiiits of God, under 
all trials of every kind both in life and death. 

Obs, V. Tiie saints of God who are resting in their 
beds of dust, will arise joyfully at the call of tlicir 
heavenly Father. - 


Obs. VI. God takes delight in his works of nature, 
but much more when they are dignified and adorned 
by the operations of divine grace. 
. Obs. Vil. How much are we indebted to God for 
the revelation of the New Testament, which teaches 
us to find out the blessings which are contained in 
the Old, and to fetch out the glories and treasures 
which are concealed there ? 

Let us dwell awhile upon each of these, and endea- 
vour to imp'ove them by a particular application. 

Obs» I. * This wotld is a place wherein good men 
are exposed to great calamities, and they are ready 
to think the anger or wrath of God appears in them.' 
This mo: tal life and this present state of things, are 
surrounded with crosses and disappointments; the 
loss of our dearest frier.ds, as well as our own pains 
and sicknesses, have so much anguish and misery at- 
tending them, that they seem to be the seasons of 
divine wrath, and they grieve and pain the spirit of 
many a pious man, uniler a sense of the anger of his 
God. It must be confessed in general that misery is 
the effect of sin, for sin and sorrow came into the 
world together. It is granted also, that God some- 
times ^^/?ir^o his people " in anger, and corrects them 
in his hot displeasure," wdien they have sinned 
against him in a remarkable manner: But this is not 
always the case. 

The great God was not really angry with Job when 
he suffered him to fall into such complicated dis- 
tresses ; for it is plain, that while he delivered him up 
into the hands of Satan to be aiuicted, he vindicates 


and honours him with a divine testimony concerning 
his piety. Job i. 8. *' There is none like him in the 
earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth 
God and avoideth evil." Nor was he angry with 
his Son Jesus Christ, when it ** pleased the Father to 
bruise him and put him to grief," when he " made 
his soul an offering for sin," and he was ** stricken, 
smitten of God and afflicted," Isai. liii. To these we 
may add Paul the best of the Apostles, and the great- 
est of Christians, who was abundant in labours and 
sufferings beyond all the rest. See a dismal cata- 
logue of his calamities, 2 Cor. xi. 23, Sec. What 
variety of wretchedness, what terrible persecutions 
from men, what repeated strokes of distress came up- 
on him by the providence of God, which appeared 
like the effects of divine wrath or anger ? But they 
were plainly designed for more divine and blessed 
purposes, both with regard to God, with regard to 
himself, and to all the succeeding ages of the Chris- 
tian church. 

God does not always smite his own people to pun- 
ish sin and shew his anger ; but these sufferings are 
often appointed for the * trial of their Christian vir- 
tues and graces./ for the exercise of their humility 
and their patience, for the proof of their steadfastness 
in religion, for the honour of the grace of God in 
them, and for the increase of their own future weight 
of glory. '* Blessed is the man that endures tempta- 
tion, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown 
of life which the Lord hath promised to them that 
love him," Jam. i. 12. "The devil shall cast some 


of you into prison, that you may be tried, and yc 
shall have tribulation ten days : Be thou faithful unto 
death, and I will give thee a crown of life," Rev. ii. 
10. ** Our light afflictions which are but for a mo- 
ment, are working for us a far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory," 2 Cor. iv. 17. 

However, upon the whole, this world is a very 
troublesome and painful place to the children of 
God : They are subject here to many weaknesses 
and sins, temptations and follies; they are in dan- 
ger of new defilements; they go through many 
threatening perils and many real sorrows, which 
cither are the effects of the displeasure of God, or, at 
least, carry an appearance of divine anger in them : 
But there is a time when these shall be finished, and 
sorrow shall have its last period: There is a time 
when these calamities *' will be overpast," and shall 
return no more for ever. 

Reflection, Why then, O my soul, why shouldst 
thou be so fond of dwelling in this present world ? 
Why shouldst thou be desirous of a long continuance 
in itr Hast thou never found sorrows and afflictions 
enough among the scenes of life, to make thee weary 
of them ? And when sorrow and sin have joined to- 
gether, have they not grievously embittered this life 
unto thee ? Wilt thou never be w eaned from these 
sensible scenes of flesh and blood ? Hast thou such 
a love to the darknesses, the defilements, and the 
uneasinesses which are found in such a prison as this 
is, as to make thee unwilling to depart when God 
shall call ? Hast thou dwelt so long in this tabernacle 


of clay, and docst tbnu not *' groan, bting burden- 
ed r" Hast thou no desire to a release into that upper 
and better world, where sorrows, sins and temptu- 
tiorts have tio place, and where there shall riever be 
the least appearance or suspicion of the displeasure of 
thy God towards thee > 

Oh, II. * The grave is God's known hiding-place 
for his people :' It is his appointed shelter and re- 
treat for his favourites, when he finds them overpiess- 
td tidier with present dangers or calamities, or when 
lie foresees huge calamities and dangers, like storms 
and billows, ready to overtake theni, Lsa. Ivii. 1. 
'' The ris:hteous is taken away from theevil to come." 
God our heavenly Father beholds this evil advancing 
forward through all the present smiles of nature, and 
all the peaceful circumstances that surround us. He 
hides his children in the grave from a thousand sins, 
and sorrows, and distresses of this life, which they 
foresaw not: And even when they are actually beset 
behind and before, so that there seems to be no natu- 
r il way for their escape, God calls them aside into the 
chambers of death, in the same sort of language as he 
uses in another case, lsa. xxvi. 20. *' Come my 
people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy 
doors about thee, hide thyself as it were for a little 
moment till the indignation be overpassed." 

And yet perhaps it is possible, that this very lan- 
e:nage of the Lord in Isaiah may refer to the grave, 
as God's hiding-plaee, for the verse before promises 
a resurrection. ** Thy dead men shall live ; together 
whh n^y dead body siiall they ari^e : Awake and sing 

mscoURsn xi. and joy at the resurrection, 427 

ye that dwell in the dust, for thy dew is as the dew of 
herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead," And 
if we may suppose this last verse to have been trans- 
posed by any ancient transcribers, so as to have fol- 
lowed originally verse 20, or 21, it is very natural then 
to interpret the whole paragraph concerning death, as 
God's hiding-place for his people, and their rising 
agvtin through the virtue of the resurrection of Christ 
as their joyful 

Many a time God is pleased to shorten the labours, 
and travels and fatigues of good men in this wilder- 
ness, and he opens a door of rest to them where he 
pleases, and perhaps surprises them into a state of 
sal* ty and peace, " where the weary are at rest, and 
the wicked cease from troubling;" and holy Job 
seems to desire this favour from his Maker here. 

Sometimes indeed, in the history of this book, he 
seems to break out into these desires in too rude and 
angry a manner of exprei>sion ; and in a fit of crimi- 
nal impatience he murmurs against God for uphold- 
ing him in the land of the living: But at other times, 
as in this text, he represents his desires with more 
decency and submission. Every desire to die is not 
to be construed sinful and criminal. Nature may ask 
of God a relief from its agonies and a period to its 
sorrows; nor does grace utterly forbid it, if there be 
also an humble submission and resignation to the will 
of God, such as we find exemplified by our blessed 
Saviour, ''Father, if it be thy will let this cup pass 
from me; yet not as 1, will but as thou wilt." 


On this second observation^ I desire to make these 
three refiecnons. 

Reflect, 1. Though a good man knows that death 
was originally appointed as a curse for sin, yet his 
faith can trust God to turn that curse into a blessing: 
He can humbly ask his Maker to release him. from 
the painful bonds of life, to hasten the slow ap- 
proaches of death, and to hide him in the grave from 
some overwhelming sorrows. This is the glory of 
God in his covenant of grace wiTh the children of 
men, that he "turns curses into blessings," Deut. 
xxiii. 5. And the grave, which was designed as a prison 
for sinners, is become a place of shelter to the saints, 
where they are hidden and secured from rising .ar- 
rows and calamities. It is God's known hiding- 
place for his own children from the envy and the 
rage of men; from all the known and unknown ago- 
nies of nature, the diseases of the flesh, and the dis- 
tresses of human life, which perhaps might be over- 
bearing and intolerable. 

Why, O my fearful soul, why shouldst thou be 
afraid of dying? Why shouldst thou be frighted at 
the dark shadows of the grave, when thou art weary 
with the toils and crosses of the day? Hast thou not 
often desired the shadow of the evening, and longed 
for the bed of natural sleep, where thy fatigues and 
thy sorrows may be forgotten for a season? And is 
not the grave itself a sweet sleeping- place for the 
saints, wherein they lie down and forget their dis- 
tresses, and feel none of the miseries of human life, 
and especially since it is softened and sanctified by 


tlie Son of God lying down there? Why shouldst thou 
be afraid to lay thy head in the dust? It is but en- 
tering into * God's hiding-place,' into his chambers 
of rest and repose : It is but committing thy flesh, the 
meaner part of thy composition, to his care in the 
dark for a short season : He will hide thee there, and 
keep thee in safety from the dreadful trials which per- 
liaps would overwhelm thy spirit. Sometimes in the 
course of his providence he may find it necessary 
that some spreading calamity should overtake the 
place whc-e thou dwellest, or some distressing stroke 
fall upon thy family, or thy friends, but he will hide 
thee under ground before it comes, and thus disap- 
point all thy fears, and lay every perplexing thought 
into rest and silence. 

Reflect, 2. Let it be ever remembered, that the 
grave is God's hiding-place and not our own : We 
are to venture into it without terror when he calls us; 
but he does not suffer us to break into it our own 
way without his call. Death and life are in the hands 
of God, and he never gave the keys of them to mor- 
tal men, to let themselves out of this world when 
they please, nor to enter his hiding-place without his 

Bear up then, O my soul, under all the sorrows 
and trials of this present state, till God himself shall 
say, It h finished ; till our blessed Jesus, who has the 
keys put into his hands, shall open the door of death, 
and give thee an entrance into that dark and peaceful 
retreat. It is a safe and silent refuge from the bustle 
and the noise, the Li!)ours and the troubles of life ; 


but he that forces it open with his own hands, how 
will he dare to appear before God in the world of 
spirits ? What will he answer, when with a dreadful 
frown the great God shall demand of him, " friend, 
how comest thou in hither ?" Who sent for thee, or 
gave thee leave to come ? Such a wretch must ven- 
ture upon so rash an action at the peril of the wrath 
of God, and his own eternal destruction. 

Our blessed Jesus, who has all the vast scheme of 
divine counsels before his eyes, by having the books 
of his Father's degrees put into his hands, he knows 
how long it is proper for thee, O Christian, to fight 
and labour, to wrestle and strive with sins, tempta- 
tions and difficulties in the present life : He knows 
best in what moment to put a period to them, and 
pronounce thee conqueror. Fly not from the field 
of battle for want of holy fortitude, though thy ene- 
iiiies and thy dangers be never so many, nor dare to 
dismiss thyself from thy appointed post, till the 
Lord of life, pronounce the word of thy dismission. 

Sometimes I have been ready to say within my- 
self, why is my life prolonged in sorrow ? Why are 
my days lengthened out to see further wretchedness r 
IVlethinks the '* grave should be ready for me, and 
the house appointed for all the living." What can I 
do further For God or for man here on earth, since 
my nature pines away with painful sickness, my 
nerves are unstrung, my spirits dissipated, and niy 
best powers of acting are enfeebled and almost lost ? 
Peace, peace, O thou complaining spirit ! Dost thou 
know the counsels of the Almighty, and the secret 


designs of thy God and thy Saviour > He has many 
deep and unknown purposes in continuing his chil- 
dren amidst heavy sorrows, which they can never 
penetrate or learn in this world. Silence and sub- 
mission becomes thee at all times. *' Father, not 
my will but thy will be done." 

And let it be hinted to thee, O my soul, that it is 
much more honourable to be weary of this life, be- 
cause of the sins and temptations of it, than because 
of the toils and sorrows that attend it. If we must 
*' groan in this tabernacle being burdened," let the 
snares, and the dangers, and the defilements of it be 
the chief springs of thy groaning and the warmest 
motives to request a release. God loves to see his 
people more afraid of sin than of sorrow. If thy cor- 
ruptions are so strong, and the temptations of life so 
unhappily surround thee, that thou art daily crying 
out, *' who shall deliver thee from the body of sin 
and death," then thou mayest more honourably send 
up a wish to heaven, '' O that I had the wings of a 
dove, that I might fly away and be at rest ! O that 
God would hide me in the grave" from my prevailing 
iniquities, and from the ruffling and disquieting influ- 
ence of my own follies and my daily temptations ! 
But never be thou quite weary of doing or suffering 
the will of thy heavenly Father, though he should 
continue thee in this mortal life a length of years be- 
yond thy desires, and should withhold thee from his 
secret place of retreat and rest. 

A constant and joyful readiness at the call of God 
to depart hence, with a cheerful patience to ^ontinne 


here during his pleasure, is the most perfect and 
blessed temper that a Christian can arrive at: It God the highest glory, and keeps the soul in 
the sxveetest peace. 

Reflect. 3. This one thought, that the 'grave is 
God's hiding-place, ' should compose our spirits to 
silence, and abate our mourning for the loss of friends, 
who have given sufficient evidence that they are the 
children of God. Their heavenly Father has seized 
them from the midst of their trials, dangers and dif- 
ficulties, and given them a secure refuge in his own 
appointed place of rest and safety. Jesus has open- 
ed the door of the grave with his golden key, and 
hath let them into a chamber of repose : He has con- 
cealed them in a silent retreat, where temptation and 
sin cannot reach them, and where anguish and misery 
can never come. 

When I have lost therefore a dear and delightful 
relative or friend, or perhaps many of them in a short 
season are called successively down to the dust, let 
me say thus within myself, " It is their God and my 
God has done it : He saw what new temptations were 
ready to surround them in the circumstances of life 
wherein they stood : He beheld the trials and diffi- 
culties that were ready to encompass them on all 
bides, and his love made a way for their escape : He 
opened the dark retreat of death, and hid them there 
from a thousand perils which might have plunged 
them into guilt and defilement : He beheld this as 
the proper season to give them a release from a world 
of labour and toil, vanitv and vexation, sin and sor- 
row : They are taken aivayfrom the evil to come^ and 


I wilLlcarn to complain no more. The blessed Je- 
sus to whom they had devoted themselves, well knew 
what allurements of gaiety and joy might have been 
too prevalent over them, and he gave them a kind 
escape lest their souls should sufter any real detri. 
ment, lest their strict profession of piety should be 
soiled or dishonoured : He knew how much tbcy 
nvere able to bear^ and he tvoiild lay upon them no fur- 
ther burden : He saw rising difficulties approaching, 
and new perils coming upon them beyond their 
strength, and he fulfils their own promises, and glo- 
rifies his own faithfulness, by opening the door of his 
well-known hiding-place, and giving them a safe re- 
fuge there. He keeps them there in secret from the 
corruptions of a public life, and the multiplied dan- 
gers of a degenerate age, which might have divided 
their hearts from God and things heavenly : And per- 
haps he guards them also in that dark retreat from 
some long and languishing sickness, some unknown 
distress, some overbearing flood of misery, which was 
like to come upon them had they continued longer 
on the stage of life. 

*' Let this silence thy murmuring thoughts, O my 
soul ; let this dry up thy tears which are ready to 
overflow on such an occasion. Dare not pronounce 
it a stroke of anger from the hand of God, who divid- 
ed them from the tempting or the distressing scenes 
of this world, and kindly removed them out of the 
way of danger. This was the wisest method of his 
love to guard them from many a folly and many 
a sorrow, which he foresaw iust at the door." 


Will the wounded and complaining heart go on to 
groan and murmur still, ' But my son was carried off 
in the prime of life, or my daughter in her blooming 
years ; they stood flourishing in the vigour of their 
nature, and it was my delight to behold their growing 
appearances of virtue and goodness, and that in the 
midst of ease, and plenty, and prospects of happiness, 
«o far as this world can afford it ?' 

But could you look through the next year to the 
end of it ? Could you penetrate into future events, 
and survey the scenes of seven years to come ? Could 
your heart assure itself of the real possession of this 
imaginary vievv of happiness and peace ? Perhaps the 
blessed God saw the clouds gathering afar off, and at 
a great distance of time, and in much kindness he 
housed your favourite from unknown trials, dangers 
and sorrows. So a prudent gardener, who is ac- 
quainted vvith the sky, and skilful in the signs of the 
seasons, even in the month of May, foresees a heavy 
tempest rising in, the edge of the horizon, while a 
vulgar eye observes nothing but sunshine ; and he 
who knows the worth and the tenderness of some 
special plants in his garden, houses them in haste, 
lest they should be exposed and demolished by the 
sweeping rain or hail. 

You say, ' these children were in the bloom of life, 
and in the most desirable appearance of joy and satis- 
faction :* But is not that also usually the most dan- 
gerous season of life, and the hour of most powerful 
temptation? Was not that the time when their pas- 
Siuns might have been too hard for them, and thede- 


ludin^ pleasures of life stood round them with a most 
perilous assault? And what if God, out of pure com- 
passion, saw it necessary to hide them from an army 
of perils at once, and to carry them off the stage of 
life with more purity and honour ? Surely when the 
great God has appointed it, when the blessed Jesus 
has done it, v/e would not rise up in opposition and 
say, ' But I would have had them live longer here at 
all adventures : I wish they were alive again, let the 
consequence be what it will.' This is not the voice 
of faith or patience ; this is not the language of holy 
submission and love to God, nor can our souls ap- 
prove of such irregular storms of ungoverned affec- 
tion, which oppose themselves to the divine will, and 
ruffle the soul with criminal disquietude. 

There are many, even of the children of God, who 
had left a more unblemished and a more honourable 
character behind them, if they had died much sooner. 
The latter end of life hath sometimes sullied their 
brightness, and tarnished the glory they had acquired 
in a hopeful youth : Their growing years have fallen 
under such temptations, and been defiled and dis- 
graced by such failings, as would have been entirely 
prevented had they been summoned away into God's 
hiding-place some years before. Our blessed Jesus 
walks among the roses and lilies in the garden of his 
church, and when he sees a wintry storm coming- 
upon some tender plants of righteousness, he hides 
them in earth to preserve life in them, that they may 
bloom with new glories when they shall be raised 
from that bed. The blessed God acts like a tendsr 


Father, and consults the safety and honour of his 
children, when the hand of his mercy snatches them 
away before that powerful temptation comes, which 
he foresees would have defiled and distressed, and 
almost destroyed them. They are not lost, but they 
are p^one to rest a little sooner than we are. Peace 


be to that bed of dust where they are hidden, by the 
hand of their God, from unknown dangers ! Blessed 
be our Lord Jesus, who has the keys of the grave, 
and never opens it for his favourites but in the wisest 


Obs* III. * God has appointed a set time in his 
own counsels for all his children to continue in death:' 
Those whom he has hidden in the grave he remem- 
bers they lie there, and he will not suffer them to abide 
in the dust for ever. When Job entreats of God that 
he may be hidden from his sorrows in the dust of 
death, he requests also that *' God would appoint a 
set time" for his release, *' and remember him." 
His faith seems to have had a glimpse of the blessed 
resurrection. Our senses and our carnal passions 
would cry out, where is Abraham, and Isaac, and 
Jacob, and the rest of the ancient worthies, who have 
been long sleepers in their beds of repose fur many 
thousand years ? But faith assures us, that Gud num. 
bers the days and the months of their concealment 
under ground, he knows where their dust lies, and 
Vhere to find every scattered atom agiunst the great 
restoring day. They are unseen indeed and forgot- 
ten cf nien, but they are under the eye and the keep- 
ing of the blessed God: He watches over their sleep- 


ing dust, and while the world has forgotten and lost 
even their names, they are every moment under the 
eye of God, for they stand written in his book of 
life, with the name of the Lamb at the head of 

Jesus, his Son, had but three days appointed him 
to dwell in this hiding-place, and he rose again at the 
appointed hour. Other good men, who were gone 
to their grave not long before him, arose again at the 
resurrection of Christ, and made a visit to many in 
Jerusalem : Their appointed hiding-place was but 
for a short season ; and all the children of God shall 
be remembered in their proper seasons in faithful- 
ness to his Son to whom he has given them : The 
Head IS raised to the mansions of glory, and the me?n' 
bers must not for ever lie in dust. 

Reflection. Then let all the saints of God wait with 
patience for the appointed time when he will call them 
down to death, and let them lie down in their secret 
beds of repose, and in a waiting frame commit their 
dust to his care till the resurrection. '* All the days 
of my appointed time (says Job) I will wait till my 
change come.'' The word * appointed time' is sup- 
posed to signify ivarfare in the Hebrew : As a cen- 
tinal, when he is fixed to his post by his general, he 
waits there till he has orders for a release. And this 
clause of the verse may refer either to dying or rising 
again, for either of them is a very great and import- 
ant change passing upon human nature, whether from 
life to death, or from death to life. 


It is said by the prophet Isaiah, chap, xxviii. 16. 
** He that believeth shall not make haste," i. e. he 
that trusts in the wisdom and the promised mercy of 
God will not be too urgent or importunate in any of 
his desires : It is for want of faith that nature some- 
times is in too much haste to die, as Job in some of 
his expressions appears to have been, or as Elijah 
perhaps discovered himself when he was wandering 
in the wilderness disconsolate and almost despairing, 
or as the prophet Jeremiah sufficiently manifested, 
when he cursed the day of his birth, or as Jonah was, 
that peevish prophet, when he was angry with God 
for not taking away his life; but the ground of it was, 
he was vexed because God did not destroy Nineveh 
according to his prophecy : These are certain blem- 
ishes of the children of God left upon record in his 
word, to give us warning of our danger of impati- 
ence, and to guard us against their sins and follies. 
And since we know that God has appointed the sea- 
sons of our entrance into death, and into the state of 
the resurrection, we should humbly commit the dis^ 
posal of ourselves to the hand of our God, who will 
bestow upon us the most needful blessings in the 
most proper season. 

Do not the " spirits of the just made perfect" wait 
in patience for the great and blessed rising-day which 
God has appointed, and for the illustrious change of 
their bodies from corruption and darkness to light, 
and life, and glory ? God has promised it, and that 
suffices, and supports their waiting spirits, though 
they know not the hour. The *' Father keeps that in 


his own hand," and perhai>s reveals it to none but his 
Son Jesus, who is exahed to be the governor and 
judge of the world. There are milUons of souls 
waiting in that separate state for the accomplishment 
of these last and best promises, ready to shout and 
rejoice when they shall see and feel that bright morn- 
ing dawning upon them. 

Wait therefore, O my soul, as becomes a child of 
God in the wilderness among many trials, darknesses, 
and distresses. He has stripped thee perhaps of one 
comfort after another, and thy friends and dear rela- 
tives in succession are called down to the dust ; they 
are released from their conflicts, and are placed far 
out of the reach of every temptation ; and it is not 
thy business to prescribe to God at what hour he shall 
release thee also. Whensoever he is pleased to call 
thee to lay down thy flesh in the dust, and to enter 
into God's hiding-place, meet thou the summons with 
holy courage, satisfaction and joy, enter into the 
chamber of rest till all the days of sin, sorrow and 
wretchedness are overpast : Lie down there in a wait- 
ing frame, and commit thy flesh to his care and keep- 
ing till the hour in which he has appointed thy glori- 
ous change.. 

Obs, IV. ' The lively view of a happy resurrec- 
tion, and a well grounded hope of this blessed 
change, is a solid and divine comfort to the saints of 
God, under all trials of every kind, both in life and 
death.' The faith and hope of a joyful rising-day 
has supported the children of God under long dis- 
tresses and huge agonies of sorrow which they sus- 


tain here. It is the expectation of this desirable day 
that animates the soul with vigour and life to fulfil 
every painful and dangerous duty. It is for this we 
expose ourselves co the bitter reproaches and perse- 
cutions of the wicked world ; it is for this that we 
conflict with all our adversaries on earth, and all the 
powers of darkness that are sent from hell to annoy 
us ; it is this joyful expectation that bears up our 
spirits under every present burden and calamity of 

What could we do in such a painful and dying 
world, or how could we bear with patience the long 
fatigues of such a wTctched life, if we had no hope of 
rising again from the dead ? Surely '^ we are the most 
miserable of all men" in days of public persecution, 
*'if we had hope only in this life," 1 Cor. xv. 19. 
It is for this that we labour, and suffer, and endure 
whatsoever our heavenly Father is pleased to lay upon 
us. It is this confirms our fortitude, and makes '* U3 
steadfii&t, unmoveable, always abounding in the work 
of the Lord, for as much as we know that our labour 
shall not be in vain in the Lord," 1 Cor. xv. 5S. It 
is this that enables us to bear the loss of our dearest 
friends with patience and hope, and assuages the 
smart of our sharpest sorrows : For since we believe 
that *' Jesus died and rose again," so we rejoice in 
hope that '* they which sleep in Jesus shall be brought 
with him" at his return, and shall appear in brighter 
and more glorious circumstances than ever our eyes 
were blessed with here on earth, 1 Thes. iv. 13. 
This teaches us to triumph over death and the grave 


ill diviiie language, ** O death, where is thy sting? 
O grave, where is thy victory ?'' 

Reflection. What are thy chief burdens, O my 
soui t Whence are all thy sighs and thy daily groan- 
ingb ? What are thy distresses of flesh or spirit? Sum- 
mon them all in one view, and see whether there be 
not power and glory enough in a resurrection to con- 
quer and silence them all, and to put thy present 
sorrows to flight ? 

Dost thou dwell in a * vexing and persecuting 
world,' amongst oppressions and reproaches ? But 
those who reproach and oppress are but mortal crea- 
tures, who shall shortly go down to the dust, and 
then they shall tyrannize and afflict thee no more : 
The great rising-day shall change the scene from 
oppression and reproach to dominion and glory. 
When "they lie down in the grave like" beasts of 
slaughter, *' death shall feed on them, and the upright 
shall have dominion over them in the morning, when 
God shall redeem thy soul from the power of the 
grave." Thy God shall hide thy body from their 
rage in his own appointed resting-place, and he shall 
receive thy soul, and keep it secure in his own pre 
sence, till that blessed morning break upon this lower 
creation ; then shalt thou *' arise and shine, for the 
glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." 

Do the * calamities which thou suff'erest proceed 
from the hand of God?' Art thou disquieted with 
daily pain, with sicknesses and anguish in thy flesh? 
Or art thou surrounded with crosses and disappoint- 
ments in thy outward circumstances ? Are thy spirits 


sunk with many loads of care and pressing perplexi- 
ties ? Canst thou not forget them all in the vision that 
faith can give thee of the great rising-day ? Canst 
thou not say in the language of fi\ith, '' the sufferings 
of this present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory that shall be revealed in us ?" Then 
the head and the heart shall ake no more, and every 
circumstance around thee shall be pleasing and joy- 
fill for ever. 

Or art thou tenderly affected with the * loss of pi- 
ous friends,' who have been very dear and desirable? 
Perhaps thy sensibilities here are too great and pain- 
ful : They are such indeed as nature is ready to in- 
dulge, but are they not more than God requires, or 
the gospel allows ? Do not thy thoughts dwell too 
much oirthe gloom and darkness of the grave ? O 
think of that bright hour when every saint shall rise 
from the dark retreats of death with more complete 
characters of beauty, holiness and pleasure than ever 
this world could shew them in ! They are not perish- 
ed, but sent a little before us into * God's hiding- 
place,' where though they lie in dust and darkness, 
yet they are safe from the dangers and vexations of 
life ; but they shall spring up in the happy moment 
into immortality, and shall join with thee in a mutual 
surprise at each other's divine change. 

Or dost thou feel the ' corruptions of thy heart' 
working v/ithin thee, and the sins of thy nature rest- 
less in their endeavours to bring defilement upon thy 
soul, and guilt upon thy conscience: Go on and 
maintain the holy warfare against all these rising ini- 


quities : This thy warfare shall not continue long : 
Thou shalt find every one of these sins buried with 
thee in the grave, but they shall rise to assault thee no 
more. The saint shall leave every sin behind him 
when he breaks out of the dust at the summons of 
Christ, and thou shalt find no seeds of iniquity in thy 
body when it is raised from the grave. *' Holiness 
to the Lord" shall be inscribed upon all thy powers 
for ever. 

Or art thou perplexed, O my soul, * at the near 
prospect of death,' and all the terrors and dismal ap- 
pearances that surround it? Art thou afraid to lie 
down in the cold and noisome grave ? Does thy na- 
ture shudder at it as a gloomy place of horror ? These 
indeed are the prejudices of sense ; but the language 
of faith will tell thee, it is only * God's hiding-place,' 
where he secures his saints till all the ages of sin and 
sorrow are overpast. Look forward to the glorious 
morning when thou shalt rise from the dust among 
ten thousand of thy fellows, every one in the image of 
the Son of God, with their '' bodies formed after the 
likeness of his glorious body," and rejoicing together 
with divine satisfaction in the pleasure of this heaven- 
ly change. Try whether the meditation of these glo- 
ries, and the distant prospect of this illustrious day, 
will scatter all the gloom t^^at hovers round the grave, 
and vanquish the fiercest appearances of the king of 

What is there, O my soul, among all the miseries 
thou hast felt, or all that thou fearest, that can sink 
thy courage, if the faith of a resurrection be but alive 
and wakeful r^ But this leads rne to the 


Ohs, V. * The saints of God, who are resting in 
their beds of dust, will arise joyfully at the call of 
their heavenly Father.' " Thou shalt call, and I will 
answer thee," said holy Jt)b> The command of God 
creates life, and gives power to the dead to arise and 
speak. * I come, O Lord, I come.' When Jesus, 
the Son of God, as with the trumpet of an archangel, 
shall pronounce the word which he spake to Lazarus, 
** Arise and come forth," dust and rottenness shall 
hear the call from heaven, and the clods of corrupt 
lion all round the earth shall arise into the form of 
man : The saints shall appear at once and answer to 
that divine call, arrayed in a glory like that of angels ; 
an illustrious host of martyrs and confessors for the 
truth ; an army of heroes and valiant sufferers for the 
name and cause of God and his Son ; an innumerable 
multitude of faithful servants who have finished their 
work, and lay down at rest. 

How shall Adam, the Father of our race, together 
with the holy men of his day, be surprised, when they 
shall awake out of their long sleep of five thousand 
years ? How shall all the saints of the intermediate 
ages break from their beds of darkness with intense 
delight ? And those who lay down but yesterday in 
the dust shall start up at once with their early ances- 
tors, and ans\\er to the call of Jesus from one end of 
time to the other , and from all the ends of the earth. 
They shall arise together to * meet the Lord in the 
air, that they may be for ever with the Lord.' 

Never was any voice obeyed with more readiness 
and joy than the voice or trumpet of the great arch- 


angel, summoning all the children of God to awake 
from their long slumbers, and to leave their dusty beds 
behind them, with all the seeds of sin and sorrow, 
which are buried and lost there for ever. Never did 
any army on earth march with more speed and plea- 
sure, at the sound of the trumpet, to attend their gen- 
eral to a new triumph, than this glorious assembly- 
shall arise to meet their returning Lord, when this 
last trumpet sounds, and when he shall come the 
second time in the full glories of his person and his 
offices, as Lord and Judge of the world, to bring his 
faithful followers into complete salvation. 

Reflection. Whensoever, O my soul, thou feelest 
any reluctance to obey the summons of death, encou- 
rage thy faith, and scatter thy fears, by waiting for 
the call of God to a blessed resurrection. Jesus him- 
self lay down in the grave at his Father's command, 
and he arose with joy at the appointed hour as the 
head of the new creation, as the first-born from the 
dead ; and he has orders given him by the Father to 
summon every saint from their graves at the long ap- 
pointed hour. Because Jesus arose and lives, they 
shall arise and live also. O may my flesh lie down 
in the dust with all courage and composure, and re- 
joice to escape into a place of rest and silence, far 
away from the noise and tumult, the hurry and bustle 
of this present life ; being well assured that the next 
sound which shall be heard is the voice of the Son 
of God, *' arise ye dead !" Make haste then, O bless- 
ed Jesus, and finish thy divine work here on earth : 

446 SAii^ii i.\ THE GxaAVE, DISCOURSE XI. 

I lay down my head to sleep in the dust, waiting for 
thy call to awake in the morning. 

Obs, VI. ' God takes delight in his works of na- 
ture, but much more when they are dignified and 
adorned by the operations of divine grace.' *' Thou 
wilt have a desire," saith the good man in my text, 
*' to the work of thy own hands." Thou hast mould- 
ed me and fiishioned me at first by thy power, ihou 
hast new created me by thy sphit, and though thou 
hidest m.e for a season in one of thy secret chambers 
of death, thou wilt raise me again to light and life, 
** and in my flesh shall I see God." 

When the Almighty had created this visible world, 
he surveyed his works on the seventh day, and pro- 
nounced them all good^ and he took delight in them 
all before sin entered and defiled them : And when 
he has delivered the creatures of his power from the 
bondage of corruption, and has purged our souls and 
our bodies from sin and from every evil principle, he 
will again delight in the sons and daughters of Adam 
W'hom he has thus cleansed and refined by his sove- 
reign grac^, and has qualified and adorned them for 
his own presence : ** He will sing and rejoice over 
them, and rest in his love," Zephan. iii. 17. 

He will love to see them with his Son Jesus at their 
head, diffusing holiticss and glory through all his 
members.. Jesus the Redeemer will love to see them 
round him for he has bought them with his blood, 
and they are a treasure too precious to be for ever 
lost. He will rejoice to behold them rising at his 
call into a splendour like his own, and they " shall be 


satisfied when they awake" from death '* into his like- 
ness," and appear in the image of his own glorious 
body, fit heirs for the inheritance of heaven, fit com- 
panions for the blessed angels of light, and prepared 
to dwell for ever with himself. 

Reflection. And shall not we who are the work of 
his hands have a desire to him that made us ? To him 
that redeemed us? To him that has new created and 
moulded us into his own likeness ? Do we not long to 
see him? Have we not a desire to be with him, even 
though we should be ** absent from the body" for a 
season ? But much more should we delight to think 


of being " present with the Lord," when our whole 
natures, body and soul, shall appear as the new work- 
manship of Ahnighty power ; our souls new created 
in the image of God, and our bodies new born from 
the dead, into a life of immortality. 

VII. The last observation is of a very general na- 
ture, and spreads itself through all my text, and that 
is, * how much are we indebted to God for the reve- 
lation of the New Testament, which teaches us to 
find out the blessings which are contained in the Old, 
and to fetch out the glories and treasures which are 
concealed there r' The writers of the gospel have not 
only pointed us to the rich mines where these trea- 
sures lie, but have brought forth many of the jewels 
and set them before us. It is this gospel that '' brings 
life and immortality to liglit by Jesus Christ," 2 Tim. 
i. 10. It is this gospel that scatters the gloom and 
darkness v/hich v/as spread over the face of the grave, 
and illuminates all the chambers of death. Who 


could have found out the doctrine of the resurrection 
contained in that word of grace given to Abraham, 
** I am thy God," if Jesus, the great prophet, had 
not taught us to explain it thus, Matth. xxii. 31? 
" God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.^' 
We who have the happiness to live in the days of 
the Messiah, know more than all the ancient prophets 
were acquainted with, and understand the word of 
their prophecies better than they themselves ; for 
" they searched what or what manner of time the 
spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when 
it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and 
the glory which should follow," 1 Pet. i. 11. But 
we read all this fairly written in the gospel. Do you 
think that good David could have explained some of 
his own Psalms into so divine a sense, or Isaiah given 
such a bright account of his own words of prophecy, 
as St. Paul has done in several places of the New 
Testament, where he cites and unfolds them ? Could 
those illustrious ancients have given us such * abun- 
dant consolation and hope through the Scriptures,' 
which they themselves ' wrote aforetime,' as this 
Apostle has done, Rom. xv. 4. Do you think Job 
could have read us such a lecture on his own ex- 
pressions in this text, or in that bright prophecy in 
the xixth chapter, as the very meanest among the 
ministers of the gospel can do by the help of the New 
Testament ? For in point of clear discoveries of di- 
vine truths and graces, *' the least in the kingdom of 
tlie Messiah is greater than John the Baptist and all 
the prophets," and our blessed Jesu^ has told us so, 


]\Iatth. xi. 11. 13. And by the aid and influences 
of his spirit we may be taught yet further to search 
into these hidden mines of grace, and bring forth new- 
treasures of glory. 

ReJIectioTu Awake, O my soul, and bless the Lord 
v/ith all thy powers, and give thanks with holy joy 
for the gospel of his Son Jesus. It is Jesus by his 
rising from the dead has left a divine light upon the 
gates of the grave, and scattered much of the dark- 
ness that surrounded it. It is the gospel of Christ 
which casts a glory even upon the bed of death, and 
spreads a brightness upon the graves of the saints in 
the lively views of a great rising-day. O blessed 
and surprising prospect of faith ! O illustrious scenes 
of future vision and transport ! When the Son of God 
shall bring forth to public view all his redeemed ones, 
who had been long hidden in night and dust, and 
shall present them all to God the Father in his own 
image, bright and holy, and unblemished, in the 
midst of all the splendors of the resurrection ! O 
blessed and joyful voice, when he shall say with di- 
vine pleasure, *' Here am I, and the children which 
thou hast given me :" * We have both passed through 
the grave, and I have made thetii all conquerors of 
death, and vested them with immortality according 
to thy divine commission ! Thine they ivere^ O Y?i- 
ihcr, and thou hast ghen the??z into my hands, and 
behold I have brought them all safe to thy appointed 
mansions, and I present them before thee without 
spot or blemish.' 

And many a parent of a pious household in that 
day, when they shall s^^ their son*^ and their daugh- 


ters around them, all arrayed with the beams of the 
Son of righteousness, shall echo with holy joy to the 
voice of the blessed Jesus, **Lord, here am I, and 
the children which thou hast given me." ' I was 
afraid, as Job once might be when his friends sug- 
gested this fear ; I was afraid that my children had 
sifitied against God t and he had cast them away for 
their transgression: But I am now convinced, when 
he seized them from my sight, he only took them out 
of the way of temptation and danger, and concealed 
them for a season in his safe hiding-place: I mourn- 
ed in the day-tiine for a lost son or a lost daughter, 
and in the night my couch was bedewed with my 
tears : I was scared with midnight dreams on their 
account, and the visions of the grave terrified me 
because my children were there: I gave up myself 
to sorrow for fear of the displeasure of my God both 
against them and against me: But how unreasona- 
ble were these sorrows ? How groundless were my 
fears ? How gloriously am I disappointed this bless- 
ed morning ? I see my dear oflspring called out of 
that long retreat where God had concealed them, and 
they arise to meet the divine call. I hear them an- 
swering with joy to the happy surrimons. My eyes 
behold them risen in the image of my God and their 
God : they are near me, they stand with me at the 
right hand of the Judge ; now shall we rejoice toge- 
ther in the sentence of eternal blessedness from the 
lips of my Lord and their Lord, my Redeemer and 
their Redeemer.' Amen, 


Among my papers I have found a speech spoken at a 
grai)e, ivhich I transcribed almost ffty years ago ^ 
and which deserijes to be saved from perishing. It 
%\j as pronounced many years before at the funeral of 
a pious person^ by a miiiister there present^ supposed 
to be the Rev, Mr, Peter S terry ; and the subject of 
it being suited to this discourse, I thought it not im- 
proper to preserve it here. 

*' CHRISTIAN friends, though sin be entered 
into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed 
upon all men, for that all have sinned ; yet it seems 
not wholly suitable to our Christian hope, to stand 
by and see the grave with open mouth take in, and 
swallow down any part of a precious saint, and not 
bring some testimony against the devourer. And 
yet that our witness may be in righteousness, we 
must first own, acknowledge, and accept of that 
good and serviceableness that is in it. 

'* For through the death and resurrection of our 
dear Redeemer, death and the grave are become 
sweetened to us, and sanctified for us : So that as 
death is but a sleep, the grave through his lying 
down in it and rising again, is become as a bed of 
repose to them that are in him, and a safe and quiet 
hiding-place for his saints till the resurrection. - 

" And in this respect we do for ourselves, and for 
this our dearly beloved in the Lord, accept of thee, 
O grave, and readily deliver up her body to thee ; 
it is a body that hath been weakened and wearied 
with long affliction and anguish, we freely give it nn- 


to thee ; receive it, and let it have in thee a quiet 
rest from all its labours ; for thus we read it written 
of thee, t/jcre the %mckcd cease from troubling^ and 
there the weary be at rest, 

*' Besides, it is, O grave, a body that hath been 
sweetly embalmed by a virtuous, pious, peaceable 
conversation, by several inward openings and out- 
pourings of the spirit of life, by much patience and 
meekness in strong trials and afflictions : Receive it, 
and let it enjoy thee, what was once deeply impress- 
•ed on her awn heart, and in a due season written out 
with her own hand, a sabbath in the gra'ce : for thus 
also we find it recorded of our Lord and her Lord, that 
enjoyed the rest of his last sabbath in the grave. 

"But we know thee, O grave, to be also a de- 
vourer, and yet v/e can freely deliver up the body 
into thee. 

*' There v/as \*\ it a contracted corruptibility, dis- 
Jionour and weakness ; take them as thy proper prey, 
they belong to thee, and we would not with-hold 
them from thee : Freely swallow them up for ever, 
that they may appear no more. 

'* Yet know, O grave, there is in the body, consi- 
dered as once united to such a soul, a divine relation 
to the Lord of life ; and this thou must not, thou 
canst not dissolve or destroy. But know, and even 
before thee, and over thee be it spoken, that there is 
a season hastening wherein we shall expect it again 
from thee in incorruption, honour and power. 

'* We now sow it into thee in dishonour ^ but expect 
it again returned from thee \n glory ; we now sow it 


into thee in "weakness^ we expect it again in poiver ; 
we now sow it into thee a natural body, we look for 
it again from thee a spiritual body. 

*' And when thou hast fulfilled that end for which 
the Prince of life, who took thee captive, made thee 
to serve, then shalt thou who hast devoured be thy- 
self also swallowed up ; for thus it is written of thee, 
O deaths I will be thy plague^ grave, I will be thy 
destruction. And then we shall sing over thee what 
also is written of thee, O death, where is now thy 
sting ? gra'oe, %vhere is now thy victory ? Amen." 

Note. A line or two is altered in this speech, to suit it more to the 
uttderstsmding and the sense of the present age. 


M o 

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APR 6 1972